Southern Brooks Community Partnership
AIM AND MISSION
Stronger Communities Powered by People
A wide-ranging community development approach to achieving this involves:
building on the skills, interests and experiences people have.
bringing people together to discuss the issues that are important to them.
understanding how to talk and listen to people.
creating relationships based on trust and respect.
going on a journey with people so they feel excited by change and able to influence decisions.
creating opportunities for people from different cultures, age groups and experience to get together.
building strong connections within and between communities.
enabling people to learn and developing a culture of creativity, problem solving and innovation.
building sustainable communities in particular;
improving community cohesion
reducing loneliness and isolation
improving health and well-being
improving skills and learning
Taryn is a 49 year-old woman who lives alone. She first came to Southern Brooks via a referral from Merlin Housing Association to our Well-Being Mentoring Service. Taryn was unemployed, in debt, struggling with low mood and anxiety and experiencing low self-esteem. After her mother and partner died within a year she became “overwhelmed” by grief, isolated herself and drank excess alcohol, got in debt, and began to struggle to cope with life. She had panic attacks preventing her from being in social situations, driving her car or using a computer.
Southern Brooks initially supported her to deal with the utility companies and set up payment plans, and then helped increase her social networks and improve confidence and self-esteem. Taryn joined Blakeney Road Allotment scheme, Grown your Own course, Job Club, Emotional Well Being Sessions – these all offered her new friendships, a way of normalising her experiences and activity that was meaningful.
Taryn’s anxiety is now much more manageable and her self-worth and confidence have increased. Things have improved to the extent that she is now in paid employment and picking up on old hobbies, maintains social contact with the friends she met through the Wellbeing Programme.
“Southern Brooks have helped me to find myself again and build my confidence. If it weren’t for them I would still be in deep, staring at four walls, too afraid to go anywhere and meet anyone and socialise. But now I have met new friends, learnt new skills, both practical and emotional and am really starting to enjoy life after such a dark period.”
Image shows a sign Taryn has made for the Blakeney Road Allotment.
West of England Works. Building Better Opportunities
Sid (names has been changed) has a combined diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome and Clinical Depression and suffers with poor self-esteem.
Previously Sid used cannabis extensively, to alleviate social isolation and feelings of anxiety. Over time, excessive cannabis use brought on feelings of paranoia, which caused a mental health breakdown.
Sid is now receiving support from a community based Supported Housing Provider, living semi-independently, which is helping him to enhance his opportunities for a fully independent future. He began volunteering and after much initial hesitation and reluctance, Sid now volunteers twice a week in The Community Café and is enjoying it very much. He recognises that this helps develop meaningful routine, build personal responsibility and he is learning new skills – he makes a rather good Latte!
Sid is a prolific musician – self taught plays drums, guitar and piano – and now feels ready to begin to really think about perusing a degree in Music, whilst getting a part time catering job. For the first time Sid is imagining a life plan and he feels very optimistic about his future.