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One Vision Community Development Workers

What do you want and need in your community?

Volunteer Cornwall has appointed six Community Development Workers across the county who are getting to know about children and families in communities like yours. Their job is to find out what fantastic things you might already be up to in your community, as well as what you think is missing.

With their links and contacts to other voluntary and community sector organisations, their job is to help people who want to make a difference in their communities do just that! It might be finding the right support for an existing group or help with getting something off the ground.

These roles have been commissioned by Cornwall Council under the One Vision Partnership Plan which looks to change the way we work together to help improve the lives of Children, Young People and Families.


What do we mean by Children, Young People and Families?

Children and Young People refers to pregnancy (-9 months) to 18 years old, or 25 years old if that young person has an additional need.

Families refers to the people who live with and/or look after those children and young people.


Look out for your Community Development Worker – they’re out and about!

West Cornwall Mid Cornwall East Cornwall

 

Penwith 

Tessa Snellgrove
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Kerrier

Sarah Martin
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Carrick

Amy Brooks
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Restormel

Davina Slack
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North Cornwall

Karen Campbell
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Caradon

Rachael Gosling
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AsOne Community Space and Café

Written by Becky Higgins and Amy Brooks

During our travels last week we came across AsOne Community Space and Café. Amy and I were lucky enough to enjoy tea and lemon drizzle cake and to meet with Leon Holland, the driving force behind the Community Interest Company on the edge of Perranporth.

We went along to see what AsOne are offering to the local community, with our particular interest in children and families. Although the organisation is still developing with some exciting plans for the future, we were not disappointed. The café is in a tranquil setting on the edge of the coast with plenty of parking outside and provides an inclusive community environment supplying enthusiastic regulars with freshly cooked food at a very reasonable price. Leon offers space for hire to local groups or individuals whether it is a craft group or a birthday party.

Leon’s future plans include providing education to support young people. Rather than concentrating on a typical academic path, the aim is to improve mental health by using a programme to help them to increase awareness and resilience in themselves. A range of specialists will create an alternative way of educating which will support young people’s learning while promoting a sense of community and wellbeing.

Leon spoke enthusiastically about plans for increasing community engagement by finding out what it is that local people would like to be involved in and how this can be supported by AsOne. The activities for young people will be developed and led by young people who will be encouraged to use their creativity within this inclusive environment.

The last Friday night of the month is family games night, not an electronic device in sight though! Good old board games are the focus of the night, either bring one of your own or use one of the array of games provided at the café.
We are looking forward to seeing how this community gem develops.

In the meantime if you are at the top of St Georges Hill in Perranporth and fancy a relaxing atmosphere and good cake pop in and say hello.

Now where is my Monopoly ………

My First Month as Carrick’s One Vision Community Development Worker

It has been an exciting and busy month as a newly appointed One Vision Community Development Worker covering the area of Truro, Perranporth, the Roseland, Falmouth and Penryn. This new role involves identifying Voluntary and Community Sector services that are available in the area for the benefit of children, young people and their families.

This month, I have found out lots about the fantastic groups that are already running in the Carrick area including a variety of children’s and youth groups, parent and toddler stay and play sessions, breastfeeding groups and post-natal depression support groups. The list is endless!

I have been leaving each meeting with the voluntary and community groups with a big smile on my face. It has been great to meet brilliant organisations, churches, charities and the inspiring volunteers who are running beneficial groups all around the locality.

I visited Andrew and Nicola at Salvation Army in Falmouth to find out more about their fun and friendly Toddlers and Children’s groups.

I will continue to meet different groups around Carrick to establish a wider knowledge of the voluntary and community groups in the Carrick area. If you are one of those groups please get in touch, it would be great to hear from you! As part of the team at both Volunteer Cornwall and Cornwall Council’s Children’s Services, I will also be promoting the valuable groups that are already running.

In the next step of my role once I have established the provision available, I will then be looking at how we can help to address the gaps identified within the specific areas of the locality. What do people want or need in their local area? How can I help to achieve this? I look forward to meeting more of the people of Carrick in the coming months. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

An Amazing Alpaca Adventure

Blog written by Becky Higgins

A day in the life of an Early Help Hub VCS co-ordinator can include a huge variety of experiences: From office based signposting for families, locating organisations and support in the community, linking organisations and creating networking opportunities to visiting fantastic people and organisations which support children and their families.
This day was one of those days when I had arranged a visit to Chy Lowen Alpaca’s, Tregaswith (CHAT), after hearing about their work at a networking meeting in Newquay.

CHAT is a non-profit organisation which uses alpaca’s, llamas and ponies to deliver Animal Assisted Intervention to anyone who needs it!

 

I arrived on a drizzly day to be enthusiastically greeted by Mary Harvey, who runs the project along with Mike Ferkin. I was welcomed into a cosy cabin and given a high viz vest to wear. A young person, who was a regular attendee, arrived and started to tell me about the animals, her mother explained that they come here regularly to help her child to gain confidence and boost self-esteem around some learning difficulties.

Next to arrive was a young adult with his carer, another regular who immediately got started with filling water containers. Mary, the young person and I walked up the road to collect 2 of the ponies. We had a wonderful welcome from Wally, Billy and Charlie who were keen to be led to the centre. I stood back and watched as Mary subtly supported the young person, who then proudly led Charlie to the stall where the ponies were fed. Once happily chomping away on food prepared by the 2 young people, who helped each other sort out the breakfast, we then headed on to the next task.

 

In the alpaca and llama field eager faces met our arrival, eyeing the feeding buckets we carried. We were joined by another young adult who brought some grapes as treats for her favourite alpaca Reuben, and some medical supplies as a general donation. I was told about the different backgrounds and personalities of the alpacas and llamas, many of whom were rescued themselves and are all individual characters.

Mary explained that they do not charge for their sessions but are happy to accept donations, whether money towards insurance or in the form of animal food or items they need. This supplements the money raised by loyal volunteers at events, and items made from alpaca wool which are sold to raise funds. In a short time the animals were munching happily and being hand fed extra grapes by the young people there. I took the opportunity to take some photos, whilst keeping a wary eye on a llama who had a suspicious look on his face! Another young person arrived and a round of knuckle bumping ensued amongst the youngsters before heading to the cabin for refreshments.

Although their individual needs were different and there was quite an age range between the people there, it was noticeable how they all helped each other to care for the animals either supported by Mary or spontaneously reacting when needed. Mary explained that it is a positive environment with a culture of kindness and positivity. There is no referral process and they support adults and children in need of this type of therapy with no fixed fee. Whether it’s emotional or mental health difficulties, lack of confidence and self-esteem, youth offending, bereavement, bullying, bad life experiences ………. the list is endless. Mary and the animals are accepting and non-judgemental in the support they offer.

I reluctantly came away but left with a feeling of happiness, it’s always a joy to meet people who give their time so passionately and selflessly to support others through voluntary action. I know the Disabled Children’s Team, Early Help Hub and Early Help staff will be excited to be able to signpost families to this fantastic organisation.

Working Together with Children & Family Services - Mid Cornwall Event

Written by Becky Higgins

The way forward in supporting children and their families is to link the Voluntary and Community Sector and Children and Family Services together to offer the best and most appropriate support for families and young people in their own communities. Networking events are planned in East, Mid and West Cornwall with the first of these being in Mid Cornwall this week.

A ‘Speed Dating’ style event was the structure of the day with the Voluntary and Community Sector organisations sharing information with Children’s Services, Health and Education professionals. An event which was planned to be small and intimate quickly grew to over 80 attendees, all with a passion to support young people and their families to live the happiest most fulfilling lives they can. The volume of people meant the pace of the morning was fast and furious with only 3 minutes each to outline their organisations and projects. Everyone rose to the occasion and worked hard to get their message across to public sector frontline workers.

The room was buzzing with chatter as huge amounts of information was imparted at record speed. The intense concentration showed on the listeners faces only to be broken by the blast of the whistle when it was time to change speaker. Despite feeling weary and with fading voices the feedback was positive from both Voluntary and Community Sector and Public Sector agencies, with some positive suggestions to help to shape the future events. One organisation quoted ‘a rare opportunity for so many like-minded professionals to connect and find out more about the services we all provide, and quite an eye-opener in terms of the provision that is out there for the Mid-Cornwall area’.



We are all looking forward to the West Cornwall Event with the Early Help teams from locality one and two, meeting in Penzance in March, which should be as lively and informative.