Community spirit has been harnessed in a part of the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead and has helped transformed the way organisations work with residents.
The Embedding Community Response Project in Clewer and Dedworth was launched after a significant number of volunteers, community groups and organisations across the borough signed-up to support the community response as part of COVID-19.
The response was designed to support the most vulnerable residents in the Royal Borough who were unable to leave their homes as a result of the pandemic. The incredible number of volunteers offering their help demonstrated the vibrant community spirit within the borough.
The embedding the community response project empowers individuals within the community by helping them to recognise and develop their skills and knowledge, and use their experience and enthusiasm, to build on existing local resources to strengthen the local area by creating their own social innovations.
Danielle Lane, Community Development Officer at Abri, who is helping to develop the project, said: “By listening to residents locally and finding out what matters most to them, five community project groups have been set-up which bring together local residents with representatives from local organisations to make decisions on how to make the area a great place to live, for all.”
“I have been encouraged by the number of individuals and organisations within the community that are keen to be involved with the project, nevertheless we would welcome others from the community who want to get involved.”
The community project groups are youth engagement, sustainable transport, physical environment, food network and employment and skills. These projects will be led by the community and are now in the initial planning stages to strengthen the local area.
The physical environment project group are planning to deliver litter picking clubs, as well as creating a Community Fruit Orchard and a biodiversity area. Cllr Stimson, Lead Member for Climate Change, Sustainability, Parks and Countryside, says “this project is beneficial to the community but will also deliver on the councils Environment and Climate Strategy at a community level. This is encouraging to see as the natural environment is so closely linked to the community’s general health and well-being.”
The employment and skills project group are working with local organisations to provide adult learning courses and volunteer opportunities in the area.
Roger Cannon, Employment, Learning and Skills Manager from Community Learning & Adult Skills, who is helping to develop the project, said: “By working with the community we can best understand the local learning aspirations and needs, we can then create courses to meet them.”
Dominique Unsworth, Secretary at YES (Youth Engagement Services) who is helping to develop the project, said: “There are local organisations already doing great work with young people in the area, through the project we are supporting them to develop their services, to work together and raise awareness of them to the wider community so they can be accessed easily.”
The empowerment of local residents and organisations will create a self-sufficient support structure locally to deliver these projects and further projects in the future, which will strengthen and shape the local area in ways that matter most to the community.
As a result of the great work, the council are now looking to replicate the project in other areas of the borough, the next project will begin soon in Maidenhead.