Action for Communities, by Communities

Ready to Go

In January 2021, Together for Change launched a project called ‘Ready to Go’ for individuals and groups wanting to strengthen their long-term impact on the wellbeing of their communities. ‘Ready to Go’ provides an opportunity to work with a small charity, Solva Care, and draw on those aspects of the organisation’s work that have been published in the Solva Care Toolkit.

Forum Online Events

The Forum series of online events have covered key areas of interest such as community development research and evaluation, the importance of the arts to community wellbeing, and the relationship between people, nature and wellbeing.

Masterclasses for Communities

The Masterclass series brings targeted training on specialisms to members of community groups.

Workstream 3 – Communities

Sharing Evidence of Good Practice to Instigate Development and Change in Pembrokeshire.

Together for Change’s Workstream 3 is about direct action to support and share learning among community groups and organisations.

At its inception, the project convened two meetings which were held online in June 2020 on the Future of Support for Community-led Action in Pembrokeshire. The first meeting brought together third- and public-sector managers, and the second was attended and informed by community representatives. The meetings focused on developing an understanding of the impact of COVID-19 upon communities and how community-led action could be sustained in the future. Reports of the meetings identified three clearly-definable areas for further work and informed the development of the 10-Point Plan and a commitment of Partners to community involvement and development.

Llangwm Village Voices

Llangwm Village Voices

‘The Little Things – A Musical Journey’ is a pan-Pembrokeshire project hosted by Llangwm Village Voices. Wellness is at the heart of the project that seeks to draw communities together in an innovative way to sing a specially commissioned opera. The intentions of the project are to improve all participants’ physical, emotional and mental health and wellbeing through the benefits of singing; to develop connectivity with communities and encourage social networking for those badly affected by social isolation during the pandemic, and to champion local talent in Pembrokeshire. This focus on wellbeing through music is hoped to offer positivity for the future. Working collaboratively around the concept of singing for wellbeing, the Ready to Go and The Little Things teams are planning pilot activities for the autumn.

Llangwm Village Voices have a website and Facebook page. You can watch their first recording here.

Ready to Go

Communities are strong and getting stronger. The impact of Covid-19 and long-term implications for individuals and communities across Pembrokeshire has emphasised the relevance of local knowledge, locally led action and the strength gained from working together. Whilst it is widely held that communities vary in their assets and capacities, local leaders and voluntary groups at all levels have demonstrated the inherent power and energy a community can generate in difficult circumstances. The power of communities can be seen in many places, with numerous small-scale, innovative local practices creating places to live where people are healthy and positive wellbeing can be experienced by everyone.

Across Wales many communities are working on great ideas and putting them into action. This strong foundation and therefore the opportunities to build on much of the positive work already taking place has led to the creation of the Ready to Go Programme. The Programme is an action research project led by Together for Change with the aim to share experiences of positive actions, ideas and good practice in communities to support and encourage more sustainable community led initiatives.

The Programme is coproduced by a small team from Solva Care and began life as a project to disseminate the Solva Care Toolkit. The Toolkit is a resource developed by employees, volunteers and trustees of Solva Care to collate the learning of a small, grass roots organisation in a rural, coastal community in Pembrokeshire. Solva Care has been sustainability operating for five years and during that time the organisation has evolved, developing its strategy in response to evidence-based research, evaluation and best practice.

The Programme has two elements: a focused approach with grass roots community led initiatives as Pilot Projects and a wider dissemination of ideas and learning within the County. The Ready to Go team work directly with other community led initiatives to build upon actions, sharing learning from each other and creating networks to share experiences of positive actions. At the heart of this work is collaboration around ideas and exploration of assets, priorities and needs in order to build on existing strengths. The team are currently working with Llanrhian Connected Community and Llangwm Village Voices. There is a small working budget for each Pilot Project and the Programme will run until the end of 2021.

A bank of online resources is being developed as the Programme evolves. This includes practical tools and guides, relevant articles and useful links. The Programme has created opportunities to learn new skills through hosting a series of Masterclasses for communities. Subjects have included podcast recording, film-making and the use of social media. These classes have been extremely popular and another series is planned for the autumn.

Llanrhian Connected Community

Llanrhian Connected Community

Llanrhian Connected Community project is a new venture at the beginning of a journey in developing a community based support system for Llanrhian parish and its outlying settlements. The aims of the project are to support development of vibrant, healthy and productive communities. First steps of the project have focused upon building upon existing relationships and networks within the parish, creating a website and Facebook page to engage with online members, and developing an understanding of the community assets and needs. The project has also been working towards organising community-wide charitable events. The Ready to Go team have been on hand throughout the early stages of this project as required with more plans underway!

‘Spotlight on Community Arts’ Forum

The second Forum event in May looked at exploring the value of the arts on the wellbeing of communities.

‘Communities and the Green Agenda’ Forum

The third Forum event in July looked at exploring the relationships between people, nature and wellbeing.

Masterclasses for Communities

The Masterclass series brings targeted training on specialisms to members of community groups.

Podcasts for Communities

A hands-on Masterclass on how to record and edit podcasts and upload to the web. 

Social Media for Communities

A hands-on Masterclass on how to use your digital device to make short films.