In February 2019, Community360 (C360) and Community Voluntary Services Tendring (CVST) were tasked by the North East Essex Health and Wellbeing Alliance to collaborate with local communities in Colchester and Tendring to gain a deeper knowledge of the assets available to local residents and the issues that face individuals and community groups.
Inspired by the Alliance partners’ agreement that ‘Understanding both the ‘needs’ and ‘assets’ of the communities in which we are working will allow us, to more effectively design, deliver and evaluate the impact of our activities’, C360 co-designed an approach to undertaking this task with Colchester Borough Council (CBC).
In June 2019, the report was published and is available to DOWNLOAD HERE.
The report recommended that we apply the principles of Asset Based Community Development and focus on ‘what is strong’ in order to help us to strengthen community based activity and capacity further. We should:
- Acknowledge the support that assets provide to existing programmes of work, such as social prescribing, ensuring that they have the resources available to deliver and demonstrate impact
- Enhance the local offer in key areas and ways. These are:
- Mental Health support for all ages, including peer-to-peer
- Befriending and Social Isolation services, especially where they may support working age adults, people who are housebound and offering buddying to help people to access social groups
- Practical support ranging from transport to home help
- Extend availability of services to improve accessibility, for example arranging meetings at new venues and at different times
- Integrate activities which support End of Life and Palliative care into the wider voluntary and community sector network
- Offer peer support to enable people to better manage their health and wellbeing, such as assisting people who are living with a long term health condition, i.e. dementia
- Enable projects which support people affected by the wider determinants of health, be it through debt, housing or low income for instance, to manage their capacity and support prevention
- Ensure that the infrastructure which supports assets to operate is underpinned. This may be volunteer management, information and advice or training.
- Consider the role of social media and technology when understanding how we can support ourselves in our communities.
The report has been shared with Essex Community Foundation, who are managing a new funding stream on behalf of the local health sector and is available to apply now. Please visit https://www.essexcommunityfoundation.org.uk/grants/our-grantmaking/apply/realising-ambitions to find out more about the Realising Ambitions fund.
We would like to announce that we will be launching access to a number of grant funds over the next three months to support the voluntary and community sector. In particular, we would encourage any groups seeking to support people living with dementia and their carers to get in touch at this stage.