NCDPs shortlisted for LGC award

Great news: the Neighbourhood Community Development Partnerships (NCDPs) have been shortlisted for an LGC award for great work in Community Integration!

We will learn the outcome of the final judging in March 2019. The shortlisting is particularly to celebrate how the LBL Council has devolved power to local communities to help to improve health and wellbeing. This community-driven approach has provided a new pathway for community groups to feed upwards to council and for council to feed directly to community.

The success of the NCDPs networks is evidenced especially in Neighbourhood 2 (Central Lewisham) where 47 new groups supporting ‘hard to reach’ populations are now linked through NCDP to statutory services in a way they have not previously been. Further examples include how social care access teams are now linked to community groups which has improved knowledge and understanding of social services criteria. Statutory services have also developed links with community spaces leading to increased accessibility for example the hospital pain management group is also located in a supported housing scheme.

Congratulations to all involved in this excellent project!

Free Food and Meals Update

Please click here for the latest Food and Meals leaflet

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 communityconnections@ageuklands.org.uk

food-healthy-vegetables-potatoes

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

 

Neighbourhood Community Development Partnerships

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.

2017.05.16 attendance view cropped

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.

workshopping 2018.05.08 cropped.jpg

Free Food and Meals

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 communityconnections@ageuklands.org.uk

food-healthy-vegetables-potatoes

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

Be a Community Connector!

Community Connectors

Our Connectors provide vital support to vulnerable people by link them to local social activities and support services.   We match you based on your availability and location and provide you with an appointment time.  Your role will be to:

  • Support the person to achieve their goals which might mean attending a new club with them for the first time to build confidence
  • Provide client updates to Community Facilitators regularly
  • Work with the support of the office team to identify suitable services and spend time talking through these with the client
  • Complete basic templates and paperwork to record the work you have carried out
  • Attending community events to raise the profile of Community Connections (optional)

 Skills and Qualifications needed

Enthusiasm and a commitment to supporting vulnerable adults are essential.  We will provide you with the training that you need though knowledge of the borough of Lewisham would be a bonus.  You will need to have excellent English language skills and listening skills, additional language skills will be most welcome.

Training

We will provide you with person centred planning training in addition to our volunteer induction and provide a forum events to meet with other volunteers and the Volunteer Coordinator to share learning.

If you would like to volunteer with us then contact us on:  0208 314 3244

communityconnections@ageuklands.org.uk

Take Notice

This is the third in our seRies of posts about the 5 Ways to Wellbeing.  Did you notice the deliberate mistake in the first sentence?  If you did then well done!  If not, go back and have another look and this time be extra careful to Take notice.  OK, this is a silly example, and spotting a capital R in the wrong place is not likely to improve your wellbeing significantly. But taking notice is really all about being present in the moment and not worrying too much about what else is going on that day or that week.  It is about freeing yourself, even if just momentarily, from the multiple distractions that seem to be everywhere now days.  From the phone buzzing in your pocket to adverts that scream out from TV sets sometimes it feels like we are being permanently bombarded with so much information that it might be easy to forget the simple pleasures that life brings.

leaves
Did you notice the leaves turning this autumn?!

Take a moment to look around you and really take in your environment, try to pick out something you’ve not noticed before and think about it for a few seconds.  Take some deep breaths, feel yourself grounded in your surroundings.  Feels good doesn’t it?

It is important to take notice, to be mindful, in the moment and meditate occasionally. Taking time like this will help to put things in perspective, come up with new solutions to the tasks that life throws at us, and to de-stress.  Why not take an hour or two to go on a healthy walk? or take in some culture at the Horniman Museum? I’ll bet you will feel better for it!  If you’d like some more ideas, get in touch!

POst by Henry 😉

Our NEW befriending and mentoring scheme!

norma with driverA few months ago I wrote a blog post about befriending, what people get out of it and why it is a service that is so badly needed in the borough.  Several months on there is still a pressing need for more befrienders, and the links that form between volunteers and people who were previously very isolated are the building blocks of the all-important community ties that in our experience really must continue to be emphasised in care strategies at both local and national levels in the future.

With all of this in mind I am pleased to be able to tell you all today about our own brand new befriending scheme that is being run by our colleagues over at Volunteer Centre Lewisham (VCL).  Before I launch into the detail, I think it is important to acknowledge that it is really a reflection of the dynamic and responsive voluntary sector in Lewisham that the project has been started up.  This is something that all involved should be proud of, from the commissioners at Lewisham Council who had the foresight to fund the work that we have done to the development workers and facilitators within Community Connections that have uncovered this need and worked so hard to address it, to the wonderful staff at VCL who are in charge of the befriending project to the new volunteers who have already signed up to be befrienders.  I think this project is not only an important practical step on the road to making Lewisham a better place to grow old, it also sends a strong message to everyone that the voluntary sector in Lewisham listens to service users and responds effectively. Without further ado then, here is the key information about the project:

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS BEFRIENDING AND MENTORING SCHEME

Volunteer Centre Lewisham’s Community Connections Befriending Scheme is aimed at providing 1-2-1 as well as group support to older and vulnerable adults in the Borough of Lewisham.

How we work

We recruit, train and supervise people interested in becoming volunteer befrienders and introduce befrienders and service users to each other in a friendly, informal and supportive process. The main aim of this befriending scheme is to actively promote independence and recovery.  The Befriending Co-ordinator & volunteer befrienders will work with rather than for the service user.

Who do we work with?

Anyone who is over the age of 18 and belongs to the following groups may be able to use our service:

  • Carers
  • Older people
  • Disabled people
  • Substance abusers
  • People at risk of exclusion
  • Vulnerable adults

The Befriending Co-ordinator will meet with you to do an initial assessment and will discuss what you need from us and how we can support you. This might include help to access an activity, learning a new skill, accompanying you for appointments or simply having someone to talk to.

Once we know what you need the Befriending Co-ordinator will find you a suitable volunteer and introduce you as soon as possible.

How to access the service

You can self-refer or you can be referred by your Doctor, by social services or through other agencies. Befriending Scheme Referral Form

We are recruiting

The Befriending scheme depends on volunteers and we are always looking for reliable and committed people interested in becoming volunteer befrienders to support vulnerable and older adults in the local community.  Click this link to see the volunteer role description:  Volunteer Befriender

We offer full training and support to all our volunteers and we provide out of pocket expenses as well. 

For more information please call Aparna Sapre, Community Connections Befriending Co-ordinator on 020 8613 7113 or E-mail: community1@volunteercentrelewishamorg.uk

So if you have a few hours to spare and would like to be more involved in your community, please come and join us!

Post by Henry

Stay Active

So here we are with our second blog post on the five ways to wellbeing.  This time we’re looking at staying active as a way to maintain or even improve your mental and physical wellbeing.  Staying active is really about exercising your body’s muscles.  And this doesn’t mean you have to be going to the gym and lifting weights everyday.  It’s about doing what you can, what’s right for you, and what makes you feel good (for me it is cycling!).

Getting exercise is well known to be associated with levels of endorphins which are natural chemicals made in your body which make you feel good.  Most people will know from their own experience that being active does really have a positive effect on how well they feel.  And keeping muscles that little bit stronger can make all the difference as we become older and more frail.

This is why in our work in Lewisham we are always trying to help people to stay active.  There are so many things to do in your local area!  Some people like to go on healthy walks, others choose to do a bit of chair-based exercise every week, there is walking football, inclusive cycling, and now there are gym instructors who are specially trained to work with people with a range of disabilities!

There are so many more things to do as well, this is really just a small snapshot.  So if you’d like a bit of support in staying active, in keeping your muscles working and the endorphins flowing, you can always get in touch on 0208 314 3244 or communityconnections@ageuklands.org.uk.

Post by Henry

Can we make Lewisham a better place to grow old?

I happened across this video by the Local Government Association’s Ageing Well campaign today, and thought it was worth sharing.  Through three case studies it brings out some of the most important principles for a forward-looking and supportive care service confronted with an ageing population.  These principles include valuing people and their contributions, allowing work and workers to be person-centred, and the recognition of the problem of loneliness among older people. A general awareness of dementia and available services among professionals who work in the community is also highlighted as being an important element in the mix.  

Here at Community Connections these principles are fundamental aspects of the kind of service we are striving to provide for people.  We would like Lewisham to be a better place for people to grow old.  If you think you can help or if you’d like to know more we are only a phone call away: 020 8314 3244.  

Finally, some of the team are going on training to become Dementia Friends Champions in September, maybe you’d like to join us?

http://alzheimers.dementiafriends.org.uk/WEBArticle?page=what-should-i-consider#.U85-yeNdV2B

Post by Henry