personal blog volunteer

Community Engagement.

I feel very privileged to meet so many nice people in my role as a volunteer at Artisans Collective Communities. Especially when talking about community engagement.

What is Community Engagement?

Community organisations bring local people together to shape their own futures. Community engagement is all about involving communities in your work and giving local people a voice.

It’s essential for understanding your community’s needs and harnessing the talents and ambitions of local people.

Community engagement works best where it is an ongoing process of participation to unlock the power in communities. It’s invaluable in helping you design and deliver projects. Also making sure local people are part of the journey.

From Locality the national membership network supporting local community organisations to be strong and successful.

From the junior artisans to senior figures in major organisations. In the course of a week we engage with them all.

Tuned to your community.

On Friday 22nd February 2019 I was privileged to give a Presentation entitled “Working in partnership for the benefit of the town”. At Canolfan Henblas, Bala, Wellbeing event.

Recently I have attended a number of meetings where it has been stated that more needs to be done about health and wellbeing in the rural community.

According to NHS Wales two particular features distinguish the rural from the urban scene in Wales and both have an impact on health conditions.

They are:

  • The problem of access to services for those living in the remoter communities.
  • Difficulties with integrating services provided for the individual when some are NHS based. With others coming from local government and the voluntary sector.

I was inspired by the work of the nursing team from Dolgellau Hospital.

The presentation before our’s was by Staff Nurse Anne Thomas, from Ysbyty Dolgellau entitled Farming Connect Network.

It was fantastic to hear all about their efforts to engage with, in particular the farming community.

One of the ways they do this by attending farmers markets across North Wales including Ruthin. I mention this because it is in Denbighshire. Therefore relevant to a number of the steering and implementation groups that we currently engage with.

I am told the breakfasts at the market are fantastic. Therefore to complete my research I will be visiting soon!

The engagement techniques may be different but the problems and solutions are similar.

As you can imagine Anne and myself had a really interesting discussion, as a lot of what we do is very similar. Interestingly linking in to national campaigns to raise awareness being one of the key points.

community engagement

”The best way to raise awareness is to make information available whenever and wherever it is needed. We work closely with the Orchid Men’s Health charity which provides information on male cancers. Particularly testicular and prostate. Steven Evans-Jones is the Orchid North Wales Ambassador, covering a large area to give presentations.

The charity would like to train more volunteers to reach out to more men and to do that they need to raise funds.

 “The staff also work closely with the Farming Community Network which is an organisation that supports farmer’s mental health. They provide a helpline for farmers who are experiencing distress for whatever reason.

Volunteers are available to provide practical support for as long as it is required and again, more funding will allow them to train more volunteers. “Both organisations would also like to provide more written information in Welsh and the donations can help us do this.” 

You can see more of Anne’s work and awards here and also here.

It was fantastic for me personally to be invited to attend the event. Seeing a wider picture of what is happening in North Wales really helps me understand what is life is like in areas away from Prestatyn and Denbighshire. Therefore helping us in our input into some of the groups we are working with.

It was a great trip over to Bala. A place I have very fond memories of. Also fantastic to meet so many like minded people.