Examples of how we have been working with residents, businesses and our partners.
Community empowerment in Keyham
A short film that gives details of an Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) approach facilitated by Plymouth City Council in partnership with the Voluntary and Community Sector to support the communities of Keyham and surrounding areas following a tragic incident.
We have worked in partnership with the Voluntary Sector to develop a network of 6 Wellbeing Hubs across the city. The aim of the Hubs is to provide easy, local access to a range of information and advice but also to empower local people to get involved in doing things together and to support each other.
There are many examples of people who have found support from the Wellbeing Hubs, but have also found that getting involved has changed their lives.
"The local Police Community Support Officer contacted me in relation to a resident who was has some mental health needs. His tenancy is at risk and he is autistic. I am building a positive relationship with him so that he can access the support he needs. We attend meetings together and I’m working with him and his Housing Officer to make his living conditions more satisfactory. I will continue to work with this resident in order to support him to navigate the services he requires".Wellbeing Hub advisor, Mannamead
"I met RM at the library and he is now a regular attendee of the Wellbeing Hub Wellbeing café. He previously felt socially isolated and lonely but has been getting involved in activities within the hub. He now feels less isolated, is able to access information and advice and to feel better connected to his community."Wellbeing Hub advisor, St Budeaux
"I am really happy going to the group. Personally going up to the group on a Wednesday has helped me feel needed again and not just for babysitting, house sitting and dog sitting. I have learnt how to do various crafts, recognise when to change my routine which was causing me to feel low. I think that all of us who go have developed friendships and can have a laugh about things that maybe caused us to have low self-esteem. If it wasn't for the group I would be stuck indoors, now I look forward to going and meeting everyone and learning something new i.e how to recognise and how to act against fraud. Thank-you "Plympton Rees Wellbeing Hub Wednesday Wellbeing Sessions Attendee
This Christmas the Wellbeing Hubs raised £3585 in two weeks to provide 150 hampers and another 50 emergency food parcels to people across the City. 32 volunteers in total helped with deliveries as well as the Christmas Lunch at Four Greens Community Trust on Christmas Day that supported 70 people living in isolation to enjoy a Christmas meal and receive gifts. We also ensured many people received a befriending call over the Christmas period.
To find out more about the Hubs please visit: Plymouth Online Directory
Supporting people with food and financial help during Cost of Living crisis
The Community Empowerment team have worked closely with the Voluntary Sector to make sure people who are struggling financially can get access to the advice and support they need. They have distributed £4.6 million of Household Support Fund since April 2022 to help people with energy, food and water costs, including £54,000 to help provide Warm, Welcome Spaces across the City this winter. There are over 50 warm spaces.
Manadon Warm Hub to Community Café
The Manadon Warm Hub derived from the Household Support Fund grant offered by Plymouth City Council as part of support needed to address the rising Cost of Living. Argyle Community Trust who run the Manadon Sports and Community Hub applied for funding and were successful and started the Warm Space on the last Monday before Christmas.
This first session saw no takers, probably due to the proximity with Christmas and the short timeline from activation of funding.
On returning from Christmas holiday leave, the local Community Builder for Honicknowle set about promoting the Warm Space with local groups and ensuring that posters were put up in the Community spaces. These included the popular ‘Knit and natter’ group, Timebank SW and the Blue Bus Coffee Stop run by St Pancras Church.
The Community Builder, Natalie, spent many Friday mornings supporting the Warm Space, as well as a few Monday mornings, ensuring information and activities were available, and making sure visitors were made to feel welcome.
Over the course of the Warm Space which ran until the end of March, Natalie arranged for a number of agencies to visit. This included the successful Slo-Cooker demonstration with ‘Food is Fun CIC’ in February, which saw 27 attend, as well as visits from Shelter and Charlotte the Creative Connector at Plymouth Scrapstore.
Timebank SW used the Warm Space when their usual location in Honicknowle suffered a fire.
The numbers attending the Warm Hub have grown and stabilised, so much so that Argyle Community Trust decided to continue the Friday morning session as a Community Cafe. This is now run in conjunction with the recently created Co-op Food Club, thus combining the purposes of social isolation and the reducing the cost of living impact.
At the beginning of June Natalie has arranged for Plymouth Energy Company (PEC) to attend so that they can share money saving tips and be available for anyone who needs energy support.
The introduction of this valuable daytime social space to the community has re-invigorated support for the evening Community events the Manadon Sports and Community Hub run, such as Bingo and Quiz nights. It has also fostered new friendships, with a buzz in the air from those attending.
Plymouth Co-operative Food Clubs
Plymouth’s Co-operative Food Organiser Kelly started in her post in November 2022 having worked for co-ops and in the community for over 15 years. Kelly works across Plymouth, is funded by NHS Devon, in partnership with Plymouth City Council and is employed by Four Greens Community Trust.
Kelly’s work was focused on learning from Co-operation Town who have experience of running food co-ops and setting up various different models of co-operation and spent time a lot of time initially in post researching our food provision in Plymouth and looking at different types of food co-ops that could be trialled across the city.
Within 6 months of Kelly being in post, Plymouth has two Food Co-op Clubs where members join and pay £3.50 per week for 12 items of food to help alleviate the pressure of the weekly food shop, they are based at Manadon Sports Hub and Southway Youth and Community Centre. Volunteers who are members help to run our food co-ops.
Having launched the first two food co-op clubs (launched in May 2023) Kelly has had some time to reflect on what’s going well and recognise the importance of the collaboration between Kelly, partners and members of her own team - the Community Builders. The Community Builders help with finding volunteers to help run the project, promotions, signing up the members, setting up the storage area the list goes on and was all completed in record time.
The next trial will be food co-ops where 20 members come together in a community location (schools or churches for example) they will equally pay and spilt surplus fruit and veg supplied by Fare share, learning new skills and saving money. These should be up and running over the Summer of 2023.
Working with Plymouth University the programme will be launching a Co-op fruit and veg box where members help to split down fruit and veg again supplied by Fare Share into small boxes and pay a small fee per box.
The movement is open to everyone, and the co-ops should help in a number of ways, the most obvious being financial due to the increased food prices because of the cost-of-living crisis, but each co-op also includes education for members ranging from learning new skills to having access to a Citizens Advice drop in.
The difference here is based on members working together to make a difference for ourselves.
Check out Kellys recent blog during Co-Op Fortnight.
The Community Empowerment team supports increased volunteering opportunities across the City. Volunteering is a great way to give to others and do something really worthwhile. You can build new social networks, use existing skills and develop new ones and build your experience too – all while having fun and meeting others.
“As a new Good Neighbour Support Volunteer I was recently matched up with an elderly resident and have been visiting her for a few weeks now. Helping someone else makes me feel good about myself and it also helps me get out of the house. I like talking to people and having a laugh, which makes me feel happy. For me the benefits of volunteering are that it keeps your mind active, doing the resident’s shopping keeps you fit and you get to meet interesting people. I feel looked after as I have safety and protection from the team and the coordinators. It’s great to meet other volunteers at our regular tea and cake socials and we support each other.”