Our Power to Change project funded by “The National Lottery Community Fund”, aims to encourage business, public sector and community groups to work in partnership with each other and young people, so they are better able to understand and respond to the needs of young people. On Friday 13th May, Neetu and Kieran met with a cross section of our community partners to discuss the challenges they face and how our “Power to Change” approach can support them in their efforts to tackle poverty, disadvantage, and support young people. The group reflected on how Leicestershire Cares currently supports them and concluded:
We really appreciate the practical support offered such as business volunteers doing DIY work or environmental work or youth development officers working directly with young people alongside the capacity building work such as training on social media and other issues. Leicestershire Cares high profile helps raise awareness of issues. We also like that you are proactive in offering support and come to the community and work with us in our communities
The participants split into two groups to discuss challenges and issues they face and produced:
The challenges they face are:
- Funding. Do not have money and always a struggle to raise new funding.
- Being able to recruit, train and retain “good staff”
- Increase in demands on services by communities and young people who have vast range of complex needs and issues.
- Having appropriate working spaces that are also cost effective.
- Not listened to. Often feel those in power not consulting or listening to them, plus they have limited capacity to feed into reviews and language used often off putting to smaller organisations.
- Language. Much info is in English and many people in need unable to communicate in English.
- Within sector, probably due to cuts and lack of funding, groups can be weary of co working. Lack of trust and suspicion made worse by having to compete for limited funds.
- Often not that aware of what other groups are up to “disconnected”
- Local groups often run in an informal friendly way and “management “speak of council and donors can be off putting and unfathomable to them.
- Place is really important and often people they support not willing to access services offered outside the context/place in which they feel comfortable.
How can Leicestershire Cares continue to support us?
- Keep on offering us practical support (team challenges, youth work support, Bags of Hope etc) and skills based capacity building (training and coaching).
- Form a network that meets three/four times a year to share, reflect and learn.
- Put together a directory of community groups/offers, in user friendly manner, so groups find it easier to signpost and develop partnerships.
- Build relationships between groups, which will lead to more trust and partnership working.
- Organise an annual celebration and showcase of the work of the sector.
- Provide platform and voice for the sector that can speak out on key issues. This could be linked into community media as well as feeding into more formal local policy discussions.
- Continue to build links between business and community sector.
- Could LC provide a Hub that groups could use/work out of etc?
We went around the group and asked for feedback on the meeting. Comments shared included.
- Very useful
- Together We Can
- Sanity made me realise not just me facing these issues.
- Good to be working together.
- Have met people here I can now work with.
- Good to be part of a human internet.
- Good exploring and discussing with people in similar situation.
- Lots of great work and positive energy.
- We can achieve lots together.
- Lots we can move forward on.
- Feeling inspired
- Looking forward to meeting up again
- This feels like the start of something much needed and important.
- All agreed that their contact details could be shared with group.
- Kieran will circulate minutes.
- LC will set up a series of meetings one of which will be an annual celebration.
- LC will seek to produce a community directory.
- LC will as and when required inform group of issues/policies where they may want to speak out as a group.
- All will be seeking to connect with other group members and see if there are areas where they can collaborate.
- LC will continue to offer a range of support.
- Decentred Media is keen to offer support to groups on community media which could involve training volunteers/staff/YP/community members up to be community reporters.
- LC will chase up there other community partners, the network could have 50 participants.
We are committed to growing this group and ensuring that the community sector can meet, share, learn and speak out. Our aim is to strengthen the capacity of the sector with a strong focus on their ability to understand and respond to the needs of young peopleNeetu Squire Head of Community Development, Leicestershire Cares
Thank you for your leadership and vision in enabling smaller community groups to feel connected to a wider network to realize their potential and maximise their impact. It feels like we are starting out on a really positive journeyJohn The EBB
For more information on our Power to Change Model https://www.leicestershirecares.co.uk/about-charity/our-approach/power-to-change/
Thanks to Adhar Project – Rana, Wesley Hall – Anita, Afro Innovation – Everiste, Socopa – Abdikayf, AAA -Cheryl (and carer), Woodgate Adventure Playground – Stu, Highfield Centre- Alice, Decentred Media- Rob and, the Ebb- John