Community Connections community development workers have been facilitating the Neighbourhood Community Development Partnerships in conjunction with the LB Lewisham ward assembly team and LB Lewisham Public Health.
This month, community groups used the NCDPs as a platform to allocate £100,000 in funding from Lewisham Public Health. Community groups came together to vote on what bids they would like to see funded in their neighbouhoods, basing this decision on earlier community workshops to identify local priorities and assets.
The funded projects are:
North Lewisham Good Neighbours
Entelechy Arts and Voluntary Services Lewisham
We Women and Co-Pepys
Manor Park Friends
Francis Drake Bowls Club
Asian Elders Wellbeing Club
St Mauritius House
Hilton Health and Wellbeing
The Mothers’ Springboard Programme
Men Talk Mental Health Film Club
Stanstead Lodge Seniors Club
Lewisham Wellbeing Map: Bellingham Community Project
Congratulations to all groups involved and we look forward to the next NCDP meetings in the new year! If you would like to get involved in the NCDP in your area, please email email@example.com.
Community Connections community development workers coordinate Neighbourhood Development Community Partnerships (NCDPs) in each quadrant of Lewisham. The NCDPs all meet the same structural aims: bringing community and statutory resources together, sharing views on areas of need and collaboratively using the NCDP forums to address them
In 2017-2018, the NCDPs brought together 170 community groups, with 296 different individuals participating in meetings.
Each neighbourhood developed its own plan through identifying local priorities and mapping community assets. Local voluntary-sector groups bid for LBL Public Health funding, and NCDPs used a participatory budgeting approach to communally allocate the funds, strengthening local assets to better address local priorities. Because the neighbourhoods are unique each NCDP grew in very different ways.
In the north of the borough, previous council-led programmes had already built a strong community sector in two of the wards. Community groups used the NCDP as a platform to share this knowledge and skill set with groups in the two wards who had not previously benefited from these initiatives. Community groups in all four wards came together to create a partnership of seven projects built on individual expertise of each group.
In the central area, the NCDP was used to bring in small voluntary-sector groups who have not been reached by the council’s traditional methods of outreach. Membership in the NCDP grew largely by word of mouth to include 47 new community groups over the course of the year, primarily those focused on supporting BME and other minority communities.
The southwest of the borough historically has fewer community sector organisations, which find themselves stretched and unable to invest time or resources into growing to support the increasing need of the area. The NCDP members used the LBL Public Health funding as an opportunity to create a volunteer coordinator post, shared across the neighbourhood’s voluntary sector, to increase capacity in the community sector.
The southeast of the borough had a similarly collaborative approach, in which a local leisure centre used its transportation resources to increase access to six locally-based exercise groups. These groups had not previously worked together, and the joined-up approach increased membership and accessibility to all six groups. The NCDP members allocated LBL Public Health funding to the leisure centre to increase staff hours and minibus use, enabling this growth.
We are proud to present the Community Connections annual report for the fiscal year 2017-2018. Please click here to open.
VOLUNTEER COMMUNITY CONNECTOR
Helping isolated people rediscover their interests and gain confidence.
Are you looking for a rewarding voluntary role in your community?
The Community Connections project supports adults in Lewisham who are isolated or lonely. We do this by connecting them to community groups and activities. We are looking for volunteers who can help us in our mission to reduce isolation.
WHAT WOULD THIS INVOLVE?
Each client will receive your support for a limited period of time. Types of support that you can offer include:
- Escorting to social groups
- Confidence building
- Help with building skills such as IT / use of gadgets
- Assisting with new transport services
- Help with form filling
Community Connectors are not long term befrienders. The goal is to support the client in practical ways so as to empower them and enable them to continue doing these things independently in the future. We take a keen interest in enabling our volunteers to fulfil their potential and offer opportununities for personal development. You will receive regular supervision and training.
HOW TO APPLY:
If you are interested in joining our team, or would like more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8314 3244.
As Community Connections has developed over the past five years, we’ve realised addressing social isolation can look very different for different people’s needs. When we describe ourselves as a project addressing social isolation, people may imagine a more limited project, say a service that only connects to befrienders. In reality, Community Facilitators and Community Development Workers do so much more to build a stronger community support for vulnerable or isolated adults.
This leaflet shows how Community Facilitators support clients socially and practically
This leaflet describes Community Development Workers’ impact on building stronger communities
Community Facilitators work one-to-one with vulnerable adults in Lewisham to access community groups and services. Clients are referred to Community Connections in a number of ways, including GPs, social care services, community groups and self-referrals.
We surveyed 421 clients from April to September 2017, and found the following:
- 61% of clients had multiple health issues
- 36% of clients were experiencing mental health difficulties
- 29% of clients had a long-term health condition
- 58% of clients had mobility impairments or limitations
In terms of the work Community Facilitators did with clients, 94% requested support accessing social groups, which covers a broad array of activities and supports for the general population as well as specific groups (eg LGBT, older people). This was the most common way Facilitators addressed social isolation.
18% of clients requested befriending and 24% needed accessible transportation to access the community. These are two of the most over-subscribed services across the borough. 16% wanted help in their home, such as domestic help or a Social Care assessment of their house, and 27% needed further practical support in their daily lives. 22% of clients were linked to health services such as drug/ alcohol support, counselling or hand/ foot care. 21% of clients were in need of economic support services, such as food banks or debt advice.
Click here for the Food and Meals offer
Many people in Lewisham have a difficult time accessing healthy meals, and they may be worried about having enough food at home. This could be for a variety of reasons, and is more common than one might expect. Community Connections have put together a leaflet that may help you or someone you know who may want more options for free or low-cost food and hot meals, as well as a clothing bank. If you need vouchers to access the food banks, please ring Community Connections at 020 8314 3244 or email email@example.com
There are several partnerships in the area which could always use volunteers if you are interested in helping people access nutritious food whilst also reducing food waste in the borough. For more information, please see their websites:
FoodCycle Lewisham and Rushey Green Time Bank cook and serve a meal on Saturdays
FareShare London support local groups and activities to deliver free food and meals
Lewisham Food Banks have four locations across the borough
World Mental Health Day is an annual day of recognition for mental health issues and the people whose lives are impacted by them. This year Trevor, a Community Development Worker, set about arranging a conference bringing together statutory mental health services, community sector support, and local residents to celebrate mental health services around the borough and to recognise the work done by people with mental health issues to manage their health.
The event was supported by Cllr Jonathan Slater and organised by partners of Lewisham Mental Health Connection including: Community Connections, Hexagon, Apax, QVT, Metropolitan Police, Bromley and Lewisham Mind, Lewisham Council, Certitude and the Lewisham Pensioners Forum.
Trevor brought together information stalls and workshops on topics ranging from Employment, Laughter Yoga, Mindfulness, Art Therapy and Self-Management. There were over 100 people in attendance, and the day was a great success for all!
Jay is a 38 year-old man who developed epilepsy as an adult. He has a hard time controlling his seizures, and as a result he was afraid to leave his house for fear of having a seizure and not having help available.
A Community Facilitator (CF) met with Jay in his home to talk about his situation – his likes and dislikes, his interests and what holds him back from engaging in community life.
Jay said that he would like to get back into work again, but the first step for him would be to build confidence in leaving the house. The CF helped Jay to get an epilepsy card through Epilepsy Action, which Jay can carry in case someone finds him having a seizure.
The CF also suggested a nearby befriending group and helped Jay work out a safety plan with them: he will call the group to let them know he is coming, and if he does not arrive within an hour they group knows to notify the authorities that he has had difficulty along the way.
Having a safety plan helped Jay feel more confident in leaving the house. He asked about community gardening groups, and is now talking to Voluntary Services Lewisham about volunteering with them as well. Often the first step is the hardest, as Jay found.