New Community Organisers start work across Devon and Cornwall
From left to right: Gary Eagles - Barnstaple and North Devon, Kevin Hambly - Plymouth focusing on Greenbank initially, Patrick Murphy - West Cornwall focusing on St Buryan initially, Jeni McFadden – DCH’s original CO, Clive Kingshott - Truro focusing
DCH have recruited four new Trainee Community Organisers to work across Devon and Cornwall after the success of their pilot project which started in 2012. DCH were the first housing provider to host a Community Organiser role in the UK, launched with the help of funding by the Office for Civil Society and Locality.
The work of the Community Organiser encourages and enables people to take action on their own and have the power and confidence to tackle the issues which are important to them. Community Organisers listen to residents in their homes, on the street, where they gather as well as a range of people working and volunteering in communities to help develop their collective power to act together for the common good, as identified locally. The organisers hope to help people to make the most of new community rights and opportunities to achieve their own aspirations.
Jeni McFadden, Community Organiser and consultant, hosted by DCH said: “We have successfully piloted the project in Cornwall and are now rolling this out across Devon and Cornwall. I will be supporting the induction and mentoring of new Community Organisers as they begin to target hard to reach, isolated groups of people living in parts of west Cornwall, Truro, north Devon and Plymouth. DCH will also be supporting them during their first year to study and qualify as a minimum level 3 in Community Organising.”
Jeni, DCH’s first Community Organiser has listened 1-2-1 to over 1200 people using ‘Root Solution Listening Matters’ method of engagement, giving insight into the communities DCH support from Penzance to the Lizard Peninsular in 15 neighbourhoods. This provides DCH with a fantastic opportunity to hear what is important to people living in DCH communities and to be part of finding local solutions.
DCH (formerly Devon & Cornwall Housing) launched a new community investment strategy in June which sets out the organisation’s vision for future investment in the two counties over the next five years. This runs alongside an ambitious development plan which will see over 3,000 homes for rent, shared ownership and outright sale built across the two counties over the next 5 years.
The core areas of work will be focussed on building on the current work happening in DCH’s communities such as financial inclusion, working with young people, supporting community groups, social inclusion and health & wellbeing, and will focus future investment and direct resources where they are most needed. Some of the current activities that will see further funding and support will be schemes such as training and job search schemes, art and sport projects, money advice and family support. DCH will look to further invest in evidence-based long-term outcomes and analyse the long term improvements the investments make.
Sue Coulson Group Director of Housing & Communities at DCH said:”Community investment is critical to the delivery of our vision, supporting our social purpose objectives and is a thread that runs across all areas of our business. Our long standing and effective work on investing in communities is moving up a gear and our investment of up to £10million over the next five years is an example of this.”
“DCH is committed to providing services which go beyond “bricks and mortar” and add value to our core purpose. We have a great track record of developing creative and innovative solutions to a range of issues and working with partners to support our customers, their families and communities to be successful.”