As a Neighbourhood Connector I try to identify Local Hosts. The Local Hosts build relationships with neighbours that live around them and look for common interests and social gatherings. It’s about people starting to talk to each other, building relationships and just being there for each other. So often people are isolated and don’t have the confidence to be involved in their community.
My role is to try and build confidence in people, support them through their journey to becoming a host. It’s important to identify what people like doing. Building on positives and trying new things. A huge part of the role is listening to what people would like to do but also supporting their capacity and making them, themselves, realise their own potential.
There are so many ideas from dog walking, accessing local arts and culture, barbecues, day trips and even fishing. Anything goes! It’s not about the Neighbourhood Connector doing things for people but connecting neighbours and building relationships. It’s about having fun too, trying something new or introducing your neighbours to interests that you have and can share. It’s getting back to basics and talking, sharing experiences and improving the quality of life for our community.
It’s simple – talk to me and stay in the LOOP!! Get involved and have some fun!"
You can contact Debbie for more information by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Debbie Christie, LOOP Neighbourhood Connector
"This is a great project with a holistic and pragmatic approach that benefits and works with the whole community," said Wanda Wyporska, executive director at the Equality Trust. "It is an outstanding piece of well thought-out work with huge potential to be replicated elsewhere."
"In many ways this was an unexpected award for our partnership because there was such a strong group of larger corporate partnerships competing including Shelter and Nationwide Building Society, Innocent and Age Concern, Matalan and NSPCC, InvestTec and the Bromley By Bow Centre and several others. However I’m certain that two key aspects of what we do together in Gloucestershire marked us out as genuinely unique.
Firstly , it was the vision of local residents that led to the creation of the award winning Gloucester Services business. So the beneficiaries of the business charity partnership are the people and their communities who helped create it.
Secondly we are strong believers in Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) and we know that every community has untapped assets within them. So the Gloucester Services project is one good example of what a community can achieve when it identifies its own assets and brings them into play. Most importantly this is something almost every community could do, so as the judges most important comment was that this ‘outstanding well thought out piece of work has huge potential to be replicated elsewhere’. We hope our experience will stimulate new projects all around the UK where communities can develop their own visions and turn them into their own local reality and we are happy to share our experiences anywhere where they can be helpful."
Mark Gale, CEO of Gloucestershire Gateway Trust
"Gloucester Services has a bit of a ‘Robin Hood’ ethos to the takings where, up to 3p in every £ of non-fuel sales at Gloucester Services supports local communities through Gloucestershire Gateway Trust (GGT). We saw for ourselves the difference this is making. Our visit took us to four projects supported by GGT:
Driving around the social housing estates of Matson, Robinswood and White City, you can feel and see the sense of pride and ownership in these communities. The streets are clean, there is no fly tipping, shops aren’t boarded up and the only thing hanging around on street corners are sheep!
So, what makes these communities continue to thrive both socially and economically (with very little additional investment)?
Each community is different, as are local circumstances and environments. There are however, several approaches which have been tried and tested here in Gloucester, that could be replicated elsewhere, and that have made asset-based community development a success:
Shimul Haider, Relationship Manager at Sport England