Innovation Fund Feedback from our friends at The SPACE Health & Wellbeing Hub
The SPACE was awarded the Innovation Fund to recruit and train a cohort of 10 local people who feel isolated to form a network and become community champions. They will become a valuable resource for local residents associations by engaging with those harder to reach and provide them with support.
The SPACE stated that the project provided great value to the local community affected by the Grenfell Tower fire. It involved training local recruited volunteers. They advertised the training opportunities locally by displaying flyers in key community places as well as reaching out to residents associations and voluntary sector organisations. They recruited 10 residents to enrol in a training program involving group learning, one-to-one mentoring and supervision.
Another deliverable of this project was the hosting of 10 community events/session which each participant on the program was supported to deliver. The SPACE said that this was delivered throughout the period of this project.
The projects main focus was to inspire others to become active in the community, to create a space for residents to give back and give service users a place in the driver seat of this project. These who attended the program acquired new skills, work experience and became community advocates.
The SPACE said that having community advocates is even more important in this time as the community does not have a lot of trust in institutions. They said that the project will also ensure that people are directed to the right services and that they also access them.
The project met 4 of the 5 ways to wellbeing:
Connect – Connecting 110 people.
This was achieved by the participants who ran 10 events ranging from afternoon tea, creative writing sessions, art session, and themed lunch sessions. The SPACE stated that in total, 130 people connected together and felt a sense of belonging in the community.
Keep Learning – Participants learned new skills that enhance their chances of gaining employment.
This ranged from acquiring interview skills to assess people needs and identify the next steps, including signposting or referral to the appropriate agency. They also gained good understanding of the welfare benefit system as well as housing options and how to get help with issues or concerns around finance.
The SPACE said that it was also empowering for participants who felt more able to manage their own affairs independently as well as be able to help their neighbours in their community. One participant said “This really changed me, I feel confident in myself and my ability to help others in the community”.
The SPACE stated that initially they had 10 participants signed up for the programme, of which 7 completed. There were some challenges given the level of trauma and some of the external factors in the local area including the Grenfell Public Inquiry and the impact the first report had on the community.
The SPACE fed back: “Overall this is really positive and fulfilling for us to be able to make a difference in people lives, empower them and giving them confidence though this project. There is a lot of learning for us here”.
Give – Participants also volunteered at the SPACE Health and Wellbeing hub.
This enabled participants to also practice the new skills and tools that they acquired during the program, while engaging with and addressing local resident’s needs and concerns.
Take Notice – A number of reflective sessions were held with participants throughout the duration of the project.
The SPACE said the sessions were designed for people to reflect on their post-Grenfell experience, on their journey with a view on empowering them to look forward.
The SPACE fed back: “the sessions were successful. We incorporated a meditation element which really helped the group bond and feel confident to share their experiences”.
One of the participants fed back: “I forgot how to be happy. Thank you for this session. It is the first time I feel I can move forward in my life”.
Another participant stated regarding their overall experience: “I’ve learned so much. The training was really good. I could learn in my own pace. I understand the system around me much better and now I can help others!”