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!

Supporting Community Voice in Public Health Funding

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:
North Lewisham Good Neighbours
Entelechy Arts and Voluntary Services Lewisham
We Women and Co-Pepys

Central Lewisham:
Manor Park Friends
Francis Drake Bowls Club
Asian Elders Wellbeing Club
St Mauritius House

Southeastern Lewisham:
Hilton Health and Wellbeing
Diamond Club
Carers Lewisham
The Mothers’ Springboard Programme

Southwestern Lewisham:
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 communityconnections@ageuklands.org.uk.

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

 

New Community Connections leaflets

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

 

What brings people to Community Connections?

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.

old-ladies.jpeg18% 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.

 

Mental Health Day Conference

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!

One client’s experience: practical support

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.

epilepsy action

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.

Free LGBT Film Night – 30th July 2017

 “David is Homosexual” is a film shot in Lewisham and Greenwich over 40 years ago by the local branch of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE). It will be shown at the Lewisham ArtsCafé in Manor Park at 6.00pm on Sunday 30 July.

“David Is Homosexual” tells the story of one young man’s coming out to his family, friends and workmates at a time when homophobia was still rife. All those involved in making the film were members of the Lewisham Branch of CHE. The aim was to encourage local lesbian and gay people of all ages to join the group and to lose the sense of isolation and fear which so many felt at that time.

David is Homosexual
For over 30 years the film was preserved by its cameraman, David Belton, and following a revival of interest it is now in the British Film Institute archive. The film includes footage of the 1976 London Gay Pride March and might be a unique record of that event.

The film was directed by Wilfred Avery, an artist who had a retrospective exhibition at the Woodlands Gallery Greenwich the year after the film was made and died in 2016 aged 90. His partner of 50 years, Ray Crossley, who survives him, was one of the group members appearing in the film. Peter Scott-Presland, the author of “Amiable Warriors”, the official history of CHE, has described the film as ‘brave  and touching’ and its return to Lewisham after so many years and in the different social attitudes it helped to achieve
will be an historic event.

Anyone involved in making the film is asked to contact David.is.homosexual@outlook.com

Volunteering with Community Connections

I’ve been volunteering with Community Connections for half a year now. I’m enjoying it, because it breaks up my week and gets me away from my desk job. It feels good to give a little bit of my time and attention to somebody who really appreciates it – it may be a small thing, but it can make a big difference.

I enjoy meeting people, and through volunteering I have got to know some lovely and inspiring people I would otherwise not have met. I love a good conversation, and I’ve had so many interesting and entertaining conversations with the people I met.

I’m used to working in a target-driven job. It feels good to balance that and support someone, just being there for them, from one person to another.

The Community Connections team look after us volunteers and are there to guide and advise, which is really helpful.

Tino Kulnik

Community Connector

tino