Summary of report content
Research conducted by Community 360 and Community Voluntary Services Tendring (CVST) back in 2019 explored the importance local groups/organisations and the role they play in the day-to-day functioning of local communities. This refreshed report is a review of that work.
A wide range of activities were carried out by several organisations involved in the project, including reviewing the previous report and all relevant data and literature. Key personnel attended voluntary sector events/meetings; meetings were held with the councils; engaged with local representatives and community groups; conducted interviews with community leaders; ran two surveys of community and voluntary sector groups; ran focus groups with a range of organisations, ran a survey of local councillors.
Community assets are often looked upon as a first port of call for people in the community and that without them they would not know where to turn. Other key findings and points are shown below:
- Technology – this can be both a barrier and a tool to break down barriers
- Knowledge is golden – people need to be empowered to have the information they need and know where to find it
- One size does not fit all – important to use neighbourhood and local knowledge of what is needed to plan for services
- Plenty of community assets but are they the right ones? And are they in the right place? Make sure services feed into local needs
- Trusted / leading the way – there is a need to utilise the important role the current assets have within the community and learn from them
- Ownership within the community – importance of giving communities the opportunities and support to create and run their own.
Focus on the strengths: Build on the value of information sharing
Gaps in knowledge: Work on data gathering, especially in areas of deficit
Volunteering key to keep assets working: Embed volunteering within system wide response work
Digital inclusion: Prioritise digital accessibility and skills development, as well as innovation to utilise increasing reliance on online solutions which improve speed of access
Neighbourhood level engagement: VCSE data sources should be integrated into the mainstream; cross comparison of different types of data would benefit planning and development; there should be greater leadership through the neighbourhoods programme and multi-disciplinary teams; local leadership needs a better understanding of ‘culture’, place and identity.
Corporate social responsibility: Work more closely with local businesses and further explore lessons learnt from work already carried out with local businesses.
Prevention: Review current working practices; increase length of funding; allow assets time to consolidate.
Caring for carers: Review carers’ strategy locally and respite opportunities, including overnight or custom breaks; look at increasing support for those that need it most and develop solutions with communities.
Wider determinants of health: Embed high value BAME action plan; assess risks and opportunities for other vulnerable groups/places (e.g. lack of activity, falls and mobility); effective coordinated collaboration across support groups (i.e., advice, foodbanks) in those identified areas where this is not in place; focus on support for younger people (especially those in rented accommodation).
Social connectedness: Extend reach of services, especially across age ranges and offer mixed access points.
Longer term strategies: Encourage a review of longer-term funding relationships, pooling, and a periodic capacity review of sector with a NEE VCSE strategy linked to One Colchester Community Strategy and Tendring Health and Wellbeing Board; consider the format of the asset map – how it can be accessed, searched and developed.
Colchester Specific recommendations cover: financial capability; greater work with faith; and Role of One Colchester.
Tendring Specific Prevention of homelessness recommendations cover: the economic climate and fragility of the living arrangements of some Tendring; Community; Deprivation.