“Our vision for Cornwall is a place where the public and voluntary sectors, faith and local communities are all enabled to play their part in building caring and flourishing communities.”
Below you will find:
• Examples of existing work in Cornwall addressing the theme.
• Examples of existing work outside of Cornwall addressing the theme.
• Proposals of how work in this thematic area might be developed and expanded.
Existing Works in Cornwall
Konnect Communities aims to bring ‘real change that lasts’. We primarily work with those most disadvantaged within our communities in Cornwall. This includes victims of crime, ex-offenders and those who are unemployed and/or economically inactive. Our innovative and personalised model of support identifies barriers to progression and change. Firstly, we lay the key foundation of positive self esteem, then we find that confidence and motivation follow as personal strengths and skills are realised. Aspirations are raised and key life goals such as entering employment, education or training are seen as achievable.
We believe in the value that communities can play in enabling change that lasts in individuals and as such we actively work with local community groups and volunteers to support this. Alongside face to face mentoring our delivery model includes a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy based course called Choices which is delivered to small groups using community venues and supported by local volunteers through our New Hope Volunteer Programme. We recognise there is value and potential in every person and our aim is to see that potential fully realised and individuals and communities flourish.
Volunteer Cornwall – Telephone Befriending
Telephone Befriending – In a time when people cannot visit friends and families volunteer Cornwall have stepped in to help communities flourish. VC have pulled together volunteers to phone and care for those in need of a friendly voice a couple of times a week.
The conversations have no agenda but to simply chat and befriend.
Viva Wellbeing – This project is about building connections in Cornish communities. Viva wellbeing is about helping people alleviate their feelings of loneliness and reconnecting them to their local communities.
Their aim is to help people:
• Actively take part in decisions about their support
• Give them choice and control around the support they receive
• Take part in activities they value, such as mainstream community activities and volunteering
• Benefit from the type of support they are receiving – be it practical, emotional, social, personal, cultural, or spiritual
• Achieve new levels of self-confidence.
Built by the community for the community, Newquay Orchard is an urban greenspace in the heart of the town. It is a space where people can come to grow, learn and relax together. Just a patch of land 6 years ago, the not so secret garden has now flourished to include a community building, 200 apple trees and has seen over 700 volunteers plant, plough and harvest the space.
Across the 7 acre multifunctional site visitors and volunteers alike can forage the edible woodland in the Forest Garden, join one of the many social programmes teaching sustainability and the importance of healthy eating and explore the traditional fruit orchard where cherry and apple trees are soon to be in bloom.
The An Loweth volunteer led community growing space is where the majority of Newquay Orchard’s volunteering and educational teaching takes place and is the best example of how the Orchard has directly helped local people. The grow space, greenhouse and polytunnel are managed by volunteers and it is a place to learn skills, make friends and improve physical and mental health.
Urban green spaces are the ‘green lungs’ of our towns and cities, not only contributing to biodiversity but also people’s wellbeing. Our breathing space here in the centre of Newquay is helping to end social deprivation, increase an abundance of nature and create a more sustainable community of people.
Village works is an initiative led by Inclusion Cornwall and working with disAbility Cornwall & Isles of Scilly, as two like- minded organisations which share a determination and desire to connect people and their communities.
Village works seeks to address economic and geographic isolation and digital exclusion, which are barriers to progress, engagement, education, training, volunteering and employment.
Recurring themes are poor health and disability, food and fuel poverty, isolation and a lack of transport. Project staff seek to understand the full picture for each individual and then identify potential opportunities for them.
But it’s not just participants who benefit, so does the wider community, the evolving job market and local economy.
Policy makers too can make use of the clear evidence- based approach of the social value of community- based action. With better connected and more robust communities, the impact of village works is also likely to reduce costs for other services in the long term, such as health and social care.
A client from Bude said “For the first time I feel listened to and I’m making progress, I feel hopeful.”
If you’re an organisation or business and think you could benefit from having committed and capable people volunteering for you, or can offer work placement opportunities, please get in touch.
Tel :01872 326440
Digital outreach – CRCC
CRCC are offering free telephone support to help you use your laptop, tablet or smartphone and access online services whilst you are self-isolating at home.
For example, we can help show you how to:
• use the basic controls of your device
• stay safe online
• surf the web for information and to keep informed
• keep in touch with friends and family using email, messaging services or video
• shop online
• manage your money online
• stay mentally and physically active using digital resources
From Monday to Friday 10:00 to 12:00 and 13:00 to 16:00, and until further notice, we will be available to answer calls and help with IT related questions, problems or issues as best we can.
The numbers to call are 01872 243557 or 01872 243534.
If you have any IT related issues, please do not hesitate to give us a call.
Moyhill farm originally created by professional surfers with a vision to create an eco friendly sustainable source of food that can feed the community. The food grown is offered to the community with the cost being decided by the buyer through a donation towards the farm to help continue the work of their team. The project enables families that may be struggling financially to access healthy food at an affordable cost that also empowers the community to learn more about the food we can grow ourselves. The farm also offers opportunities for community activities such as family friendly skill based lessons, cooking, live music and a positive place for the community to learn and grow together. In a time where the world is attempting to become more eco friendly and community focused Moyhill farm offers a family friendly example of how we can all learn and grow together in a safe community focused area that leaves a community well fed and feeling empowered.
The Fishermen’s Mission “Seafit” Program
Providing much needed physical and mental health outreach in fishing communities.
Seafit is a partnership between The Fishermen’s Mission and Seafarers Hospital Society to provide targeted healthcare support to fishermen and fishing communities. This focuses on health checks and mental health support based in harbourside communities.
Living a busy and chaotic life, work that is physically and mentally draining and dictated by tides and weather can often leave fishermen with physical and mental health challenges that they find difficult to have the time to address. Medical appointments often are made in advance, thus because “time and tide wait for no man” are often not able to be kept.
The provision of healthy lifestyle advisors able to conduct health checks in harbours, where the fishermen are, has proved invaluable. In Newlyn, specialist mental health support, has been made easily accessible through links with the Mission Port staff, with minimal waiting, and at times to suit the work. There has even been the provision of dental checks and support to access treatments as well as targeted physio sessions to ensure holistic wellness in these communities.
This work was instigated to alleviate some of the issues the fishing community has faced in accessing these services and demonstrates the ways in which outreach work can have an impact on marginalised community based traditional occupations.
Existing Works Outside of Cornwall
In Tontnes Devon a caring town network has been set p to include the voluntary sectore, the public sector and the private sector. 80 organisations have come together to support health and wellbeing in the town. This project looks to shift how people think and practice care. The most vulnerable are put first, and the root causes are considered when looking at physical, mental, emotional and social problems that affect everyone at some point in their life.
Since 2014 they have:
• Formed the Caring Town network
• Conducted a community needs analysis, plus more recently a survey of over 400 teenagers and 1,000 adults.
• Formed multidisciplinary working groups to address key issues of Homelessness, and Safeguarding Young People;
• Set up Connectors at the Mansion – a public service that connects local people with local providers and groups (funded by Totnes Town Council);
• Completed a social prescribing trial with our local surgeries;
• Developed a help in hard times guide;
• Developed an online directory of all local services for public use (this website!);
• Staged annual public events to connect local people with local services and groups such as move more Saturday.
• Developed an adolescent mental health support project called space to talk, now held by KEVICC;
• Worked with our young people to begin to strengthen their voice and influence in getting their needs met – i.e. developed the youth can make a difference forum; now held by TRAYE;
• Worked with CVS to support more people into volunteering; and
• Developed a business plan to hold our work moving forward and support fundraising.
Proposals for Future Work
The Chy-Sawel Project
Chy Sawel, Cornish for ‘House of Health Giving’, is a project for people suffering from acute mental ill health. Currently offering information and signposting to beneficial holistic support, the project hopes to make a step-change to set up a Mental Wellness Retreat to be that house of health giving.
Chy Sawel believe that too often, in our time pressured world, acute mental disorders are medicalised and not supported by empathetic understanding of how the patient can be involved in their own treatment. World Health Organisation (WHO) studies have shown that recovery rates from a single psychotic incident, are higher in developing nations than in industrialised nations. This may be due to more supportive community care and cultures and less of a reliance on often expensive drugs treatments.
The Chy-Sawel Treatment Centre hopes to provide a template for a radical and systemic shift in how mental health is approached. With mental health being the cause of almost half of ill health for people under 65, the societal problem and financial burden on the NHS is enormous. Therefore, the pressure to medicalise a problem is attractive – a seeming quick and relatively effective fix. Except the people behind the Chy-Sawel Project disagree.
Through a programme of education, rehabilitation, innovation and research, the team hope to offer a credible alternative that puts the patients and their families at the heart of recovery. Offering respite, care and time, the Chy-Sawel approach aims to: lessen relapse rates; reduce hospital admissions; facilitate significant reductions in medication; help people manage their own recovery and find a way back to leading meaningful and fulfilling lives, where they feel accepted and secure.
The Project is currently seeking funding in the region of £2.25million.
How Can the Help Continue and Look Post COVID-19?
Support projects can be rolled out in the community on the back of the great work that has taken place during the Covid-19 pandemic. Volunteers in the community have self-organised to support those who are having to self-isolate and are vulnerable, without family or friends who can help. This simple but effective way can reach a lot of people, offering help to many but delivering the support in a sustainable way:
• A private Facebook group is set up which is purely for volunteers wishing to help in the community, it’s important to remember that this page won’t be used by those in need but by those offering support.
• Someone in the community acts as the main point of contact, a coordinator.
• A flyer is designed, printed and delivered with the coordinators contact details listed, there can be other information on the flyer, perhaps what support and wellbeing activities are available in the in the community.
• When a call or text is received by the coordinator the request is placed on the private volunteer group, for example ‘a lady in the area needs some shopping to be collected from the local shop, who can help?’
• When someone on the private volunteer group says they can help, the coordinator then gets in touch with the volunteer by private message or phone call, explains the need and facilitates. The use of private messaging or phone conversation means no personal information is shared publicly, even on the closed Facebook group with other volunteers.
• If people question the coordinators identity, the coordinator can say to the person requesting the help to call the Truro City Council mainline and ask for the Community Development Officer,
This model could be rolled out in many other Communities across Cornwall.
By Damien Richards, Community Development Officer, Truro City Council
Taken from an article in CIPF’s A Fair and Just Future for Cornwall Report