Community needs under spotlight
Dominic Bareham IDEAS on how to improve communities and the borough, as well as discuss needs to improve welfare and wellbeing, came under the spotlight at a special event in Great Yarmouth last week.
IDEAS on how to improve communities and the borough, as well as discuss needs to improve welfare and wellbeing, came under the spotlight at a special event in Great Yarmouth last week.
More than 80 local residents - and MP Tony Wright, attended the event, organised by Community Connections in partnership with the Priory Learning Centre.
In a series of lively workshops and activities at the Priory Centre, people shared their ideas and views on what gaining new skills, improving life chances and taking up new opportunities would mean to them.
Specialists were on hand to provide information and advice from health trainers to community nutritionists, skills for life tutors to business and enterprise advisors - all aimed at “making a difference” to people's lives in 2009.
Rosie Marler, learning manager at the Priory Centre and Chrissy Chalmers, learning and development manager at Community Connections, told the audience how difficult it was for local organisations to find funding to run courses for unemployed people who are not ready for full-time or more formal opportunities.
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They said: “We need local people to help us piece together and identify issues so that we can plan opportunities effectively and report accurately to our potential funders. Voluntary and community agencies in Yarmouth have joined together as the College in the Community to engage people in community learning and develop opportunities which give people the confidence to get going.”
They added: “We understand that people have a multiple of needs and today's event is very much in recognition of that.”
In a short speech Tony Wright said there were going to be some hard times ahead, considering the current economic climate and he added: “The community needs to stick together to stay strong. By coming together at events and workshops like this we can hear your voice and your ideas about the issues and the needs in the community.”
He said the special allocation of working neighbourhoods funding could help to support local people to get back on track to work, improving skills and building enterprise.
Community Connections chief executive Trish Aydin was delighted with the response from residents.
She said: “This has been a good example of community engagement, involvement and support. The enthusiasm of the community and the support from partners has contributed to this being a really productive and successful day.
“The people of Great Yarmouth braved the wet and cold weather to attend and have really joined in. It shows the community is motivated and ready for change. There has been some very lively discussion and a positive sharing of ideas about what works for local people here and what doesn't work.”
All the information from last Friday's event will be collated and a report sent to the agencies who can help local people access the services they need.
There are also plans for further workshops and discussions will be held with the Local Strategic Partnership and the borough council as a way of keeping up the momentum and ensuring local people have access to the opportunities available - and those that are going to be made available through the Working Neighbourhoods Fund.
For more details about the event or another Making a Difference workshop, call Lynne at Community Connections on 01493 656372 or email email@example.com