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When a Community Pulls Together

The Beast from the East brought snow, wind and ice to our hilltop Community of Four Lanes with snow days, school closures and cars abandoned as the roads became impassable. Families out playing together, creating snowmen and ladies together, creating memories.

For our lovely Community it also has the bought out the best of the West. Neighbours knocking on the doors of elderly, vulnerable and those with small children who may need a helping hand. Social media being used for the power of good, warning of dangers on roads, owners of 4x4s running nurses and carers around, running relay services from the bottom of the hill to get stranded residents back home to the village. One was kind enough to rescue my husband and son when then got stuck in a verge after feeding our animals.

Farmers helping those stranded and waiting at strategic points even though they themselves are so very, very busy.

Neighbours bottling up water and delivering it to residents in the village whose pipes have frozen. The local pub offering free tea and coffee and pasties to those in need, for the many who had frozen pipes.

The local shop always offers to deliver at tough times, but this time the volunteers had it covered!

Neighbours shopping for those that could not and should not venture out.

People inviting their Community into their homes for food, hot showers, the use of tumble driers and washing machines.

We wrapped our nine-year-old up in the evening and walked through the village with our snow loving springer to deliver meals and water and to make memories in snow that had drifted to our knees in our local park. The few people we met en route stopped for chats, the village full of smiles and kindness. The 4x4s that did pass were greeted with cheery waves.

The Beast from The East brought out the Best in the West and I hope that after the Beast waves goodbye that the Community spirit remains brighter than before, that new friendships made last longer than the snow. That as the snow melts the warmth of the kindness given and received leaves our little village all the warmer.

I am proud to call our Community home – proud of the spirit of our Community Volunteers.

I also flipping love the snow!

Liskeard SOUP

On Thursday 15th February, I had the pleasure of going to the first ever Liskeard SOUP and was completely blown away.

In a nutshell, SOUP events are micro granting dinners where people come together and support ideas which will benefit the community. Created in Detroit in 2010, the SOUP model is a fantastic way to get people talking about their community and give projects or ideas the boost they need to get their idea off the ground through seed funding. The difference with SOUP, is that the community decides who should get the funding.

For Liskeard SOUP, we’re especially interested in Health and Wellbeing and how grassroots action can fill gaps in public services. So how do these SOUP events work exactly? It’s quite simple really. The audience pays £5 on the door, which gets them soup, bread and vote (denoted by a pebble). Four projects are presented, and each has just four minutes to share their idea. No technology allowed, just them and the audience. After they’ve explained what their project is all about, the audience can ask up to four questions to delve in a bit deeper. When they’ve heard from all four, the audience get together to discuss the projects and which one they think will benefit the town most. Voting is complete when the audience have placed their pebbles into the bowl for their chosen project. Whoever has the most pebbles wins all the money collected at the door. Thanks to the Liskeard Place Based Pilot top up fund, first place also won £500 in addition to the door money, and £350 was awarded to the project in second place. This money will be used as seed funding to get these projects off the ground.

It was incredible to hear that so many fantastic projects applied to the first Liskeard SOUP. The four who presented on the night were:

  • Hyperznx with their social sessions and events to reduce isolation
  • Creative Gym restorative creative sessions for everyone to enjoy
  • Liskeard Community Action with Liskeard’s first Community Swap Shop
  • Cymaz Music with Anella, a Liskeard singing group for people with lung conditions

Having heard from all four presenters, I would have found it extremely difficult to choose who should get my vote. Luckily, I wasn’t voting as it only felt right that Volunteer Cornwall should be impartial and leave the decision up to the local community.

Once each of the four projects had done their presentations there was lots of chatting and more trips to the bar whilst the audience tried to decide which bowl would get their pebble. Finally Ed from Real Ideas Organisation put the four groups out of their misery and announced that Cymaz Music’s project Anella had come second and the most votes had gone to Liskeard Community Action and their Community Swap Shop.

The Swap Shop clearly captured the audience’s imagination and I didn’t blame them. Liskeard Community Action already host events for the whole community, provide free secondhand children’s clothing for people most in need and run fun play sessions for little ones and their parents. Their vision is for a Swap Shop where people can literally swap anything. This could see people in Liskeard sharing their skills, passions, food, clothes, toys, just name it and you can swap it. Ideally the Swap Shop would be on Liskeard High Street to give the group more visibility thus increasing the number of people who will drop in and start swapping.

Huge congratulations to Liskeard Community Action and Anella as well as everyone who applied to present at Liskeard SOUP. It’s great to know that those who didn’t get funding or the chance to present this time round, can apply to present at future Liskeard SOUP events.

Liskeard SOUP is a great example of the great things that can happen when people rally behind something. Real Ideas Organisation organised the event and I assisted with sending out invites to my contacts in Liskeard, who then went on to share it with people they knew. The Barley Sheaf pub in Liskeard very kindly lent us their function room for the evening and Jess from the Real Junk Food Project Plymouth provided the soup and bread for free! Using food which would have otherwise gone to waste. And it didn’t stop there, on the night, I couldn’t help but notice people left right and centre chatting about what they do, sharing information and getting inspired about all the great ways they can work together.

I for one am very excited to hear how Liskeard Community Action and Anella get on with their projects and to see who will be presenting next time.

For more details about second Liskeard SOUP on Thursday 15th March and to register to come along or submit your idea, visit: https://liskeardsoup.org/

We hope to see you there!

Laura Smith

Social Action Co-ordinator, Liskeard Place Based Pilot

It's an Honour to Introduce...

Hi Penny, how can I refuse? After all if it wasn’t for your recommendation in 2016 for the “Supporting Elders” category of Cornwall Celebrates Volunteering, the snowball wouldn’t have kept growing.

I was excited and honoured to be short-listed to 3 and pleased to accept the award.  Then when all categories had been concluded at the presentation, leaving only the supreme title of “Volunteer of the Year”, I was looking around the room trying to guess which candidate was most worthy.  You will recall I’m sure, the utter amazement and disbelief on my face when Daphne Skinnard read out my name, and my slow uncertain walk to the Queen’s representative, Edward Bolitho for the second time within ½ hour.  Four years before I had been similarly surprised following an invitation to a special service at St.Mary’s Church, and announced as Callington Citizen of the Year, with a framed certificate.

But even these 3 awards did not prepare me for the shock I got from the postman on November 18th , when he delivered a large envelope emblazoned with “ On Her Majesty’s Service”, “CABINET OFFICE” and “URGENT PERSONAL”.  I still had no idea until I opened and read, and re-read, IN CONFIDENCE ----------------------I am, Sir your obedient servant---.

So for about 6 weeks, until the New Year’s Honours List was printed and circulated, not even my sons or daughter had an inkling. Now I’m preparing for a call from the Lord Lieutenant’s Office regarding presentation of a BEM, followed by a Garden Party at the Palace in May, when my daughter will stand proudly by my side.

Want not, Waste not

Café Abundance is part of the ‘The Real Junk Food Project’ and is a non-for-profit organisation that collects food from local supermarkets that would otherwise be thrown out and uses it to create healthy nutritious meals in their Pop-Up Cafés around the Liskeard, Torpoint and Rame areas. Café Abundance is about reducing food waste, caring for the environment and building communities and friendships. The Pop-Up cafés are on a ‘Pay As You Feel’ basis and a frequent feature of the café is an abundance of left over food displayed and beautifully named ‘food boutique table’ which everyone is welcome to take home, again on a ‘Pay As You Feel’ basis.

I visited the café in Liskeard at St. Martins Church with some friends and work colleagues and was delighted to find that if we wanted we could have a three-course meal and the menu was varied, nutritious, delicious and interesting. I dined on a Veggie Platter consisting of, homemade mushroom pate, homemade humus, american coleslaw, olives, yogurt and sourdough bread. The meal was surprisingly substantial but still left room for some afters of a simple but delicious dish of orange segments in caramel sauce. There were also surplus amounts of teas and coffees with water jugs on each table. The café was hosted by some wonderful and dedicated volunteers who went out of their way to make you feel comfortable and looked after. The atmosphere was warm and friendly and diners were busy chatting away to their fellow diners producing a spirit of togetherness and harmony.

Whilst the Café Abundance provides a regular fantastic service they are still in need of valuable volunteers so if you are interested or would like to find out more please visit their face book page at:

https://www.facebook.com/cafeabundance.uk/?hc_ref=ARSj0G_CX1JNIUkpsn_MnMJHCcXBLTRGbQdnnWZWdM29CgDPRhxrmNc8kh03HJby9Zg&fref=nf