So, as you know we have been promising exciting news for a while now, and here it is! We’re a little bit nervous about it and hope you share in the excitement.
Over the last few months we have been working with Connex Community Support to see if what support they could offer us – and how we could help them.
Together we put in a bid to the Lottery for funding for a partnership to support what we have all been doing as neighbours during the pandemic, as well as to help us engage with the community to find out where you would like Street by Street to go in the future.
We are extremely excited – and also a little nervous – to announce that that bid has been successful! The Lottery funding pot was specifically aimed at groups like ours, which were set up to help communities during the Covid-19 pandemic to build community resilience.
We are keen to harness the amazing community support your neighbourly love and other offshoots have brought about.
It will also be used to help us, (Anna, Claire & Caitlin) to coordinate the volunteer projects as well as help us have more time to work towards meeting some of the needs that are being identified as a result of lockdown and the pandemic, including potentially turning these into funded roles in the future.
Future plans and ideas include:
Working with young people and schools to identify the impact lockdown and separation has had on mental wellbeing and begin working on project to support better post pandemic wellbeing in children and young people.
Continuing to work with High Peak Foodbank and its partner organisation Zink Employability and Advice to help people who are in hardship by supporting them with job training, skills, and volunteering opportunities, as well as making sure they receive the benefits to which they are entitled.
Working with all of you (we hope!) to see how we can use the internet to support people who want to stay at home, so have one to one training and support on online banking, using WhatsApp, YouTube, Facebook, Zoom etc, anything which can help people use the internet to reduce isolation from lockdown and bridge the ‘digital divide’ in age and rurality.
Helping people get out and about and overcome anxiety about going out, working with you (we hope!) to set up buddy roles where you escort someone to a supermarket, pub, or public setting for the first time (at a distance of course) or perhaps make video calls from places someone who has been in isolation would like to go to but would be comforted seeing what changes are in place before they do, for example, from doctors, sports settings, pubs, supermarkets, anywhere really.
As we are now ‘formal’ (scary!) we will be looking at what we need to do to satisfy insurance and safeguarding needs for you and for the people you support.
Where appropriate we can now apply for a (free) DBS certificate and any appropriate training for you, our wonderful volunteers. If you are concerned about getting a DBS please just let us know, we are not judgemental, we love you all for being our amazing neighbours and we’ll help you carry on volunteering any way we can.
We will also share standard volunteering policies with you, for example, confidentiality policies, and asking you to confirm you have read and will uphold the principles within the policies.
As with all grassroots operations, they eventually need to take this route in order to gain funding and long term sustainability and security and we hope this doesn’t interrupt the flow or essence of who we are as a community.
We know for many of you this has been your first introduction to volunteering and the gains and sense of achievement and just general gooey-ness and feel good factor volunteering can bring.
Please let us know if you have any concerns and we will do all we can to help overcome concerns and barriers you may have to carrying on.
We would also like to reassure you that if you have become friends with the neighbours you have been supporting and would like to carry on helping them in an informal way that’s okay too, we just won’t add you to the ‘official’ volunteer bank.
When we all signed up to help support our neighbours and each other we had no idea what the Coronavirus was or the impact is was going to have on our community, and in a sense it didn’t matter, we were there to support our friends, neighbours and community in a time of crisis. This remains our core value, whether that support is to help people who want to stay in isolation or whether it is to help people come out of isolation. We have been and continue to be here to respond to individual and community needs on a local level as they happen and we hope, very much, that as the neighbours and volunteers who made this happen in the first place you all feel able to carry on that help in the future.
Congratulations and thank you wonderful neighbours, the Lottery, the Council, services, charitable organisations, and all of us are so very proud of you all. Pat yourselves on the back and pop open the Prosecco (or lime and soda!) You’re all Lottery winners today 😊