Community Organisers Blog

Staying connected across Wiltshire and Swindon

by | Nov 5, 2018

With a population estimated at 716k and a coverage of 1346 square miles it is probably not a shock that one of our main objectives at the social action hub is to try and help people feel more connected and less isolated across Wiltshire. Our training is available to anyone within this remit which and we feel it’s really important that we make it as accessible as possible- choosing to deliver within the different communities across the county as opposed to having one central place that delivers the training.

We meet so many people where transport can be an issue from the beautiful rural communities that people live in. Being a Community Organiser over the past years has been really thought provoking on isolation; what it is and how we might tackle it in different ways.

I really love the way that digital communities can join people up through social media and online campaigns. I also feel it is a huge part of reaching people behind the doors. When we were delivering the young people’s listening projects we provided free transport for the young people so that the people who really wanted to be a part of something could do so without barrier. This could see us driving up to 150 miles a day to pick up and drop off those that wanted to join in. Costly and time consuming-yes; but the impact and outcomes were well worth the investment. Our Healthwatch Young Listeners project (2015-16) saw over 200 hours volunteered by 10 young people that would not have been able to take part had they not had transport provided!

It has made me really think about what a social action hub is and how it works. I really feel that the hub itself should suit the place it is and be guided by the needs and desires of the people who form it.. (sound familiar?)

As part of our promise as a Social Action Hub we have said that we will provide meet-ups for those that wish to connect with other people who have done the training, or who want to network and meet new people and find out about community organising. Supported and facilitated by our Member Organiser (Nick Laffan) we are pleased to announce that we held our first one on 7th September 2018.

Seeing the way that people move and communicate within rural communities is really interesting and inspiring; people seem quite accepting of the fact that their community expands beyond their one village or parish. Traveling to another town or village for a food shop or an exercise group or interest group seems second nature. It comes across to me that people really value and cherish the places that they physically live- but also consider their wider community a big part of their lives.

Seeing people meet with others from across the county and build relationships has been really wonderful and shows us that even though we can provide people with a ‘physical’ meeting space here in Devizes, the feeling a part of something creates the true Hub, and it’s presence will be felt across the entire county and beyond…