Community Connectors - Project 15 St Matthews
15th December 2023
Project 15 St Matthews. Women4Change & Leicester City in the Community
The Community Connectors Programme has been an incredible eye opener in the way I approach my job practice. I was giving the opportunity to work in community development in partnership with Women4Change, an organisation that was already stablished within the community; thought with limited resources (LCitC had secured funded to invest in this area of the city)
Before doing the course, I was really struggling to see how I can make an impactful contribution beyond just delivering a session and going home ticking the ‘delivery’ box so to speak!
However, looking back at this initial’s interactions with the community in St Matthews, supporting the women to access physical activity, being a familiar face, using community spaces that are important to them, such as the Al Furqan Mosque, to gather and share was the catalyst to start building trust. It allowed me to connect and engage beyond my role, as well as getting to know the community and its strengths.
I think the key words partly influenced by the course have been relationships, trust, empathy, collaboration and sharing power. One particular tool from the course which helped me early on was ‘shifting the locus of control.
Community Connectors gave me the structure I needed to shape the project alongside the partner organisation. It helped me to think collaboratively on the principles that communities often know better than the specialist outsider and working in that way enables us to grow and grow better by tapping into the wealth of resources that are already there.
Working on the partner organisation’s strengths was the key to building teamwork, trusting them to be able to provide a holistic approach to the families in St Mathews, for instance accessing health services, translation, housing support, standing against long term inequalities, education, safety and security, local economy, inclusion and so on. I began to get a clear understanding in how to shape Project 15 by working on the informal personal things around the edges of the formal task, trying new things, giving and receiving support, which duties could be fully delegated, exploring the importance of consultation on the issues that St Mathews care about enough to take action.
Our mission is to enable St Mathews to have knowledge of systems which affect them and help people feel more informed so to create a ripple effect that communities don’t feel any more that they need to be rescued. They are powerful, everyone of them has gifts of the Head, Heart and Hands which they may want to contribute to community, same as the skills identification exercise from the programme, when we listed our own skills but then pooled our lists in the group I can/We can and we all realised that together we could!
We are tapping into community power…
Tagged as: Community Connectors
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