For nine years, local people in Stanwell, Surrey addresed key themes in their area as identified by residents: nature through nurture, flourishing families, and skills to thrive.

Members of the Local Conversation in Stanwell, supported by Surrey Care Trust

Over nine years, the Local Conversation in Stanwell established priorities for the local community and acted to improve them. Their work is led by a steering group of residents living in the community.

Improving the local environment was key to the Local Conversation and the community worked to establish a Stanwell Community Allotment as a space in the neighbourhood where everyone is welcome. Led by the allotment group, regular sessions were organised for older people and young people to take part in nature-based activities. The allotment became a well-used referral destination for local GPs and Link Workers. Care workers also arrange for vulnerable older people to visit the allotment to help with mental health. Allotment family play sessions allowed people of all ages to enjoy time together in a safe and welcoming environment. All sessions were planned and run by volunteers.

The allotment group led on local advocacy to help improve the natural environment with initiatives like litter-picking or getting involved with campaigns such as Keep Britain Tidy and Save Our Green Space. They also hosted a visit from their local MP Kwasi Kwarteng to the allotment. Two schoolchildren from a local youth group involved in the Local Conversation spoke with the MP about mental health, the aspirations of young people in their area and how more needs to be done to support them.

The previously unused Lord Knyvett Hall was turned into a local community hub as part of the Local Conversation and it hosts a number of events to provide more activities to residents. Bingo sessions and Otago classes helped to bring older residents together after the pandemic to increase confidence, wellbeing and reduce isolation. Other events have included celebrations for the Coronation, for Eid and family fun days.

Providing local young people with skills to help them in the long term is an essential part of the Local Conversation. The Local Conversation created a youth voice structure and a youth steering group that communicates the needs of young people in the community and helps to inform the programmes of support they receive.

Young people were also supported to access leadership development workshops, such as through the Phoenix Project. They have been supported to make their voice heard, designing and conducting the Spelthorne Youth Survey where they gathered over 700 responses. Results were presented to the mayor, local councillors and other representatives from local and county councils and voluntary organisations.

Funded by People’s Health Trust using money raised by Health Lottery South East