Community Peer Support in Action – Hitchin Hub Launch

Friendship

The day got off to a great start at 8.30am in the Sun Hotel. Given that this event had both changed days, venues and times, I was very encouraged to see an enthusiastic turnout for the early informal coffee event!

It was encouraging that many people also decided to stay for most of the day and others had made plans to come and go to fit in with their own schedules. I was pleased, having planned the day, that this ‘pick and choose the relevant bits for me’ feeling had been transmitted. People selected the parts they wished to attend and came and went accordingly.

The initial workshop session was called ‘Building Resilience – How Peer Groups (or Communities of Practice) are providing the environment within which personal, business and community development can take place.’ What does this mean? Well, within this workshop we wanted to demonstrate and lay down, the way in which we consider Peer support to be a fundamental attribute of a successful Community Hub.

Peer Support is rooted in the principles of partnership whereby each participant gives and receives attention and mutual support. They are able to identify, engage and make use of their own resources, in order to get their needs met within the safe space of the group or partnership. We wanted to explore the ways in which this might translate to the Community Hub environment.

In an exercise, the group were asked to think about their current needs for support; help; advice; and/or guidance within their own lives, and what the Community Hub could potentially provide for them in order to get those needs met.

I was gladdened to hear the responses and suggestions which ranged from sessions on Social Media and Basic Business skills; Flexible Social and Health related support outside of mainstream services; Information and Resources for local groups, charities and organisations; and Hobbies/ Leisure related activities.

However, it was hearing that people mostly wanted to come and find ‘connection for connections’ sake’, to ‘talk about our passions’, and to ‘find empowerment’ that really inspired me. The individuals in the group described what they would like to experience at the hub – ‘Optimism’; ‘The experience of others’; ‘Pass it On’; ‘Pay it Forward’; and ‘A feeling that something good is going to happen’.

For me, the ethos of the hub was encapsulated within these responses. The core of the Community Hub vision resides in creating a strong and resilient base within which members of our community can come and get their needs met on a Personal, Business and Community level.

Later on in the day, we focused more specifically on the needs of people in business. However, fundamental to the development of a successful hub it appears that the ability to have ‘good conversations’ and build robust and strong relationships, to foster the ‘feel good’ factor in a true Peer Supported environment is going to be the driving force behind both People and Business Matters.

We would appreciate your responses, comments and feedback regarding aspects of the Community Hub which you can leave here and also on our contact form: https://communityhub.live/contact/

Please contact Emma Jaynes for more information on : emmajaynes@virginmedia.com or 07791 520388

Our next event is on 21st July: https://communityhub.live/stevenage-community-open-day-21st-july-2016/

The next Hitchin Hub Day will take place in the Sun Hotel on Thursday 11th August from 8.30am. More information and schedule to follow.

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