Introduction to project work. What is the purpose of it?
Our project work is central to the missions and values of the organisation, in that it links us to the field, and utilises the principles and practice of Community Development, impacting in a positive way on the lives of those expereincing social exclusion. We are currently running 2 main projects, one funded by the Big Lottery, based in Rhyl and Splott and one funded by the Lloyds Foundation of England and Wales, based in Rhyl. We have several others under development, that are aiming to link with new communities and address what communities feel is important to them. All of our projects partner key local organisations, and also work in a participatory way with local communities and individuals
Turning around the telescope (Big Lottery project)
In July 2012 CDC secured Big Lottery funding for an innovative action research project called Turning around the Telescope. The Project has been looking at homelessness in Rhyl, North Wales and the health and wellbeing of people aged over 50 and of working age in Splott, Cardiff. Through the project, two of the main themes of the Lottery's BIG Innovation Programme are addressed, i.e. 1) promoting community learning 2) promoting physical and mental well-being.
The work of the project in Rhyl has received an extension until March 2016. Whilst the project work in Splott is officially coming to an end in November 2015, the findings of this innovative project will be used to inform future funding applications and some of the work achieved will be carried on locally through groups established through the project. Both have been involved in exciting developments in 2015!
Rhyl project is a winner!
Our ground breaking project in Rhyl has moved from strength to strength, with new and exciting developments in both areas. We are also in the process of developing new projects to further embed and develop the work that these projects have achieved.
We are delighted to announce that in relation to work done through the project in Rhyl, the project was the WINNER of the Tackling Homelessness Award in the area. Nia Jones, who collected the award on behalf of the 'Friends of the Homeless' volunteers at the project, said: "I'm really pleased that the group's thriving and that the hard work of the volunteers has been acknowledged." The award was sponsored by Doorworld, Rhly and presented on their behalf by the Mayor and Mayoress of Rhyl, Dave and Val Simmons.
Sarah Rochira visited Splott!
In Splott, we also have had some exciting developments in 2015. The project has worked closely with groups of older people in the community of Splott since 2012, helping them to identify and overcome barriers to wellbeing. During weekly sessions, the groups along with the project worker have discussed a plethora of wellbeing issues, some of which have highlighted a concern over lack of services for older people in Splott, and others which have focused more specifically on issues around social cohesion, isolation and fear of a rapidly changing community where people feel that they do not belong anymore.
In February this year, the Older Person's Commissioner for Wales (Sarah Rochira) and her team, visited these groups, along with other residents and members of the Communities First team in Splott, at Selwyn Morris Court – a sheltered Housing complex, for a coffee morning and buffet where an informal question and answer session took place. Sarah was invited to respond to questions from the floor raised about wellbeing issues locally, and was able to discuss these, and also talk about her role and what powers she has to be able to carry the voice of older people in Wales forward, when shaping service design and delivery methods.
The event was well attended and people were thankful that Sarah was able to give her time to listen to their views. Bringing her together with the groups enabled them to learn more about how services are designed and delivered locally. As one participant stated "she has told us clearly about what she can and cannot do to help us with our worries. I appreciate her honesty and I'm chuffed that she has listened to us and taken us seriously". The impact of her visit was fantastic. As a result of the event, the groups have invited Disability Wales to attend a coffee morning session to discuss access issues regarding public transport locally – this will provide them the opportunity to discuss concerns about placings of bus stops in the community. Regular contact has been sustained between the groups, the Project Worker, and Sarah and her case team since February to feedback on specific issues raised, and the groups now feel that they are confident to ask questions and seek advice as a result of the event.
Derith Powell, MBE. Chief Executive of Community Development Cymru "As the National Organisation for Community Development in Wales, we have worked with these communities in the past are very aware of the issues that affect their daily lives and their wellbeing. Our research shows that a specific Community Development approach can impact positively on issues around social exclusion which also impacts negatively on health and wellbeing".
Transition Project, Rhyl (Lloyds Foundation for England and Wales)
The Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales has recently agreed to fund a two year project in Rhyl, North Wales, which focuses on delivering direct services for homeless people who are reintegrating into society. The aim of the project overall is to pilot an approach to increase the chance of someone succeeding on a long term basis, when they are resettled, thus avoiding a return to the streets.
The project addresses the lack of immediate practical support during the transition phase to new accommodation for homeless people. This support is badly needed. 60-70% of people who are resettled have nothing and people often don't stay in their new accommodation because they feel it is no better than the streets. The project is currently recruiting a Transition Project Worker and further updates on progress will be provided in future Newsletters.