Supporting the development of a Community Hub Network in Stroud District
We are delighted to introduce Miranda Eeles, the district’s first ever Community Hub Support Lead. Miranda’s post has been made possible through funding from Stroud District Council, Gloucestershire County Council and Creative Sustainability CIC and is the result of an innovative new partnership aiming to support the development of a network of Community Hubs across the Stroud District.
Community Hubs are voluntary sector organisations that act as a central point of contact and support for their communities. Hubs are connectors of people, communities, local groups, businesses and voluntary sector organisations and a place where people can find friendship, positive things to do, acquire new skills and share their expertise, and get help and advice on food, housing, finances, health and wellbeing.
In Stroud District, there are a number of Community Hubs already established and a great network of voluntary and statutory organisations and mutual aid groups working together alongside parish, town and district councils.
This project aims to build community resilience by expanding the existing network of Community Hubs in order to:
- ensure coverage across the whole of the district and appropriate distribution of responsibilities
- share knowledge, resources and skills
- ensure best practice around inclusion and safeguarding,
- improve cross sector working and collaboration
- ensure fair and efficient use of resources
Why support the development of Community Hubs?
The pandemic illustrated how responsive and resilient communities can be and how much generosity of spirit there is to take action and help each other in the face of adversity. Research and consultation carried our across the district during the pandemic revealed that not all community support groups had the same level of expertise of resource available to them.
Some local community groups were fast to respond during the pandemic, knowing their own places and connections. Many groups understood who needed what and were trusted so could bring in local resources and people to respond to need. Others found it a barrier not being connected to a recognised support service. For some community members, working with local groups and volunteers was easier than approaching statutory services while for others, being approached by someone they didn’t recognise who was not from an ‘official’ support agency was a barrier.
This Community Hubs development project aims to support communities in a number of ways. The work will evolve as we work more closely with the groups in each different area:
Community groups who want to do more to support their places, will be supported to grow sustainably, making sure they have the resources and training they need before taking on more responsibilities. They will be helped to manage expectations of what they can do with what they’ve got and making realistic plans for their next steps.
Some communities have more ‘social capital’ than others, they have resources and know how to use them but some do not. Part of this project is about supporting communities who don’t have the resources or confidence to use them.
Relationships can be built between community groups and other agencies to encourage cross sector working, making it easier for people to reach the support they need. This also support volunteers who don’t have to feel that they must hold all the answers.
Sharing good practice and facilitating learning so each group grows in their own way, making decisions about their own development and future direction.
Sharing resources between partners to save time and avoid duplication.
Change needs to happen slowly and realistically.
Map of Community Hubs
Find your hub