The most recent High Weald Community Network held on 11 July at Crowborough Children's Centre was attended by 24 people from local community groups. The theme of this quarter's meeting was 'Supporting Young Children and Families'.
Keynote speakers Sam Yeates from Crowborough Children’s Centre Keywork Team described the service that the centre offers to families with multiple and complex problems and explained how the keyworkers work in partnership with the whole family for an extended period of time, identifying issues and strengths and agreeing priorities for change. Donna McAdam, Children’s Centre Manager, then gave an overview of the children’s centres and the wide range of support they can offer including parenting skills, child health information, antenatal and newborn advice and volunteer and community drop-in sessions such as ‘Explore and Play’. There was particular focus on the training courses and volunteering opportunities provided to improve life skills and/or help parents back to work.
Following the speakers, participants had a chance to introduce themselves, describe what they do and share contact details.
Representatives from Canine Concern - including Valerie Fillery (Therapist), Chrissie (volunteer) and therapy dogs Benji, Konnor and Savannah then joined the meeting. Canine Concern is an Eastbourne-based charity that now has branches throughout England and Wales. Valerie described the challenges of establishing a successful charity and had kind words to say about the help she and her team had received from 3VA in this process. Chrissie, who volunteers in schools, shared how her lived experience of hearing loss has made her an ideal person to work with deaf children and get them to practice their sign language skills by giving commands to her dog.
The group then had a snowball fight where ideas for future networks were written down on pieces of paper, scrunched up and thrown at each other. The ideas, all of which can be found below in the full outcomes report, were then read aloud. In the discussion that followed, it was agreed that mini training sessions on attracting and retaining volunteers and on fundraising should be set up by 3VA. This is because people in High Weald expressed having trouble accessing training on the south coast. It was also suggested that it would be good to hold a “Question Time” style event with a panel of experts to answer questions and give information.
The next quarterly High Weald Community Network meeting will be in the autumn - details to follow. If you have any queries about this report or the High Weald Community Network, please email or phone Allie Tutt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01323 639 373 ext. 215.