Community Action Suffolk (CAS) is asking people to visit www.growyourcommunity.org.uk and share how they grow their community to make it a better place. This could be something as simple as looking after a friend’s children, picking up litter on your street or doing some shopping for an elderly neighbour.
By uncovering all these positive activities, or social action, happening all across Suffolk, CAS will be able raise awareness of all this good work and encourage others to join in. CAS will map the activity happening across Suffolk and be able to introduce people to voluntary groups in their area, explore new initiatives and grow communities.
CAS launched the campaign at its Grow Your Community conference on Friday 25 September 2015, attended by 110 delegates from Suffolk’s voluntary and community sector, business and public sectors. The event was opened by Councillor Sarah Stamp, Suffolk County Council Cabinet Member for Communities, and included guest speaker Richard Bell from Challenge UK, as well as Tim Passmore, Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk Constabulary, along with local community success stories from The Rotary Club and community-owned pub, The Case Is Altered in Bentley.
Cllr Sarah Stamp recognised the importance of partnership and collaboration in her opening address, and Tim Passmore acknowledged the role played by local communities, “We need to do everything we can to support the voluntary and community sector. A big thank you to all who work in the sector.”
Richard Bell presented the key findings of a national report on social integration and some practical recommendations as to what central and local government, schools, businesses, voluntary organisations and individuals might do to increase levels of integration.
A presentation by David Westley from The Case Is Altered pub in Bentley, explained how a community can come together and make a real difference. The pub has now successfully opened and wouldn’t have been possible without all the large and small contributions made by the local community.
Nick Corke from The Rotary Club reported on the huge success of the Hour Community project in Framlingham, where local people donate an hour of their skilled time, “We estimate that since 2011, our volunteers have given over 5000 hours of their time, from installing free smoke detectors to doing ironing. The total is likely to be much more than that.”
Chris Abraham, deputy Chief Executive of CAS said, “I’m delighted with the number of people attending and they have told us how interesting and useful they have found the speakers and the workshops. CAS is committed to supporting Suffolk’s communities and has developed the Grow Your Community campaign to help strengthen them. I think today has given us all a lot of inspiration to encourage social action all across Suffolk.”
Look around the website to see how others grow their community and tell CAS and Suffolk the positive things you do to grow your community!