I have long held personal dream of mine has been to create a space where people can come together in a community environment to gain information, support and resources which may help them to resolve challenges which they are facing. My earliest ideas were borne out of my experience of having managed projects both within statutory and voluntary health care sector services, as well as having had experience of being on the receiving end of such services some years hence. It seems that, as the past couple of years have passed, this vision is gently becoming a reality.
In January this year, we began developing and facilitating programmes within the community via our Social Enterprise. Fundamental to these programmes is the principle of Peer Support http://positivewayssite.wordpress.com/peer-support/ and of Building Resilience http://positivewayssite.wordpress.com/emotional-resilience/ and http://keithabrahams.com/ . We use a simple and effective coaching and counselling model called the Human Givens http://positivewayssite.wordpress.com/human-givens/ which is based on learning how to deploy our innate resources in order to get our essential human needs met.
In addition to having unmet needs, I would argue that many of the challenges faced by the individuals with whom I worked in health services were compounded by two major concerns: vulnerability, caused by a lack of resourcefulness/ personal resources on the one hand, and loneliness and isolation, on the other. I believe this extends out to many people within our Communities, including mothers, sole traders and senior executives.
It would only seem right, and make logical sense then, that resolution would come about by finding solutions to these challenges. So, our programmes coach people towards that place of resourcefulness and resilience, and the group itself, provides a strong and well-structured Peer Network within which people can safely grow and develop.
We recognise that people have multi-faceted lives which can be generalised to, say, work; study; home; relationships; and life overall. Within any one of these areas we may require some specific guidance and when one is out of balance it may unsettle some, or all, of the others. So, we like to take an holistic approach and support people across all these areas of their lives and this is where the Community hub serves such a brilliant function.
In thinking about, and planning how it might work in practice, we know that it needs to provide opportunities for people to engage in activities which will enhance the varied aspects of life – Personal; Business and Career; Social and Community.
As a group, my colleagues and I are all very much engaged in a variety of charitable and not-for-profit ventures within the local community. One of these, Link4Growth, is a community building organisation, and will be represented throughout the hub day, providing Community and Business Networking events for anybody in the community to attend. We believe that good Community Building, Business Success and Personal Growth, begins with having Good Conversations. These events provide the ideal environment within which that can happen.
Interspersed between the informal networking events will be the opportunity to engage with a variety of workshops covering the aforementioned areas of Personal, Business and Career development. Going forward, it is our desire that these slots will provide ongoing collaborative group programmes that will be driven by the needs of the Community. In addition, there will be experienced and qualified people with backgrounds in Counselling, Business and Life Coaching, and Mentoring on hand for one to one guidance and support throughout the day. These slots can be booked in advance, or on arrival.
The space is currently being sponsored and funded by the businesses Just Clarity Group and Positive Ways. However, it is our intention for this to be a true Community Hub and we welcome interested potential sponsors to come forward, who wish to be involved in helping to host events and contribute to keeping the space open with meaningful and quality engagement.
I see the Community Hub building on the work of the smaller and focused Peer Support groups. Within the hubs we can help each other to create personal, business and community resilience at the same time as offering a dedicated space for developing a larger Peer Group within our communities. These groups can also develop into Communities of Practice for local business as well as providing the model for other, more ‘niche’, groups if required. I believe the potential is limitless, and I will enjoy participating in further discussions around these possibilities.
In a society currently perceiving itself to be in flux, I believe that by taking responsibility for a small corner of our world, in this case, within our local community, we can start to make a tangible difference in each other’s’ lives. Where many of our ‘systems’ are falling apart or bowing and distorting under the strain, it only takes a few individuals, prepared to give of their time, effort and expertise, to enact small initial changes, and then bear witness to what may unfold – it is an exciting prospect !!
Our next Community Hub Day is in Hitchin in the Sun Hotel on Thursday 14th July – please see links below.
If you would like to discuss any of the above, or would like some more information about the Community Hubs, please contact Emma Jaynes on 07791 520388 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Or visit our meetup group for the Hitchin schedule : http://www.meetup.com/North-East-Herts-Community-Business-Colloboration/events/231886009/