In this blog, Networks and Communications Officer Peter Williams discusses the work that the Trust has done in developing spaces for our funded partners to share resources, knowledge, and ideas.
Our networks are thriving, and self-sustaining community spaces made up of local practitioners. Along with supporting each other, the networks are also a space for our funded partners to connect with People’s Health Trust and share challenges, opportunities, and new ideas. The networks are shaped by community practitioners for community practitioners, and they pick the topics of interest that they want to explore.
Since the pandemic began, the networks have provided an important support space for funded projects as well as providing us with valuable insights about what is happening on the ground and how our funded partners are responding to the needs of their residents. This has enabled us to be more flexible in our approach and respond to the changing needs of our funded partners.
Together with our funded partners, we have been able to successfully co-produce ‘Meet Up sessions’, which bring together practitioners from our Local Conversations on Zoom where we explore topics of interest. We have hosted over 30 meet up sessions in the past 18 months which has helped to paint a picture of the volunteering sector and the types of challenges that practitioners are facing. We have also experimented by developing a series of Active Communities Meet up sessions which bring together funded partners from different parts of Great Britain. These Active Communities meet up sessions are currently in development, and we are looking forwards to this exciting initiative.
We have also hosted a series of workshops for our partners. Our mental health session held in June 2021 aimed to give our partners an opportunity to reflect on the provisions they needed to support their mental wellbeing. As a result of the session, we were able to gain an even greater understanding into the impact of the pandemic on both our practitioners and their residents.
We also hosted a digital inclusion webinar with the Good Things Foundation, a charity that supports socially excluded people to improve their lives through digital technology. The aim of the workshop was to identify the key barriers to digital inclusion as well as the kinds of support that our funded partners need. These sessions were important for knowledge sharing during the pandemic as our funded partners had to adapt to new ways of working.
We deliver network days for funded partners to meet other community organisations. These networking opportunities allow organisations to form connections with projects working in a similar location to them or tackling a similar issue.
Our funding programmes are specifically aimed at organisations that are run by local people within their community. Our networks provide a space where this lived experience can be shared, and people can work collaboratively. We believe supporting community groups with a platform and listening to their experiences is the best way to create lasting change and tackle the existing health inequalities across Great Britain.
If you are interested in finding out more about either joining or supporting our networks email email@example.com.