Support People In Wareham Through Wellbeing Listening
July 22, 2021
I (Liz) always love to discover what our Community Listeners have been up to. During the Community Listener Programme (your can find out more here) they engage on a Community Project. Siobhan Davis and Marina Baker teamed up. Here are the reflections on the project in Siobhan’s words.
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Marina and I have chosen to set up an action group to support people with learning disabilities and the general community of Wareham.
 
Why this project and why Wareham?
We recognised there was a need for people with learning disabilities to have a say in their community, to be informed and included in activities that are occurring in Wareham.
 
We also were aware that 20 new residents who have learning disabilities were moving into Wareham and it was difficult enough for people already living in Wareham to find suitable opportunities.
 
Through Covid-19 lots of volunteers offered to help vulnerable elderly people in their communities to go shopping, prescription collecting, or phone befriending and within my present role in the Volunteer Centre we realised that people with learning disabilities were not applying. This may have been because of:
 
  • Poor communication
  • No internet connection
  • Information not put up locally in easy read.
  • Need support to do volunteering.
Key aims of the project:
  • To listen to the community in Wareham especially those with learning disabilities
  • Support people to have a voice and take a lead in their community.
  • Help seek volunteering opportunities, activities, and friendships within their local town.
  • To recruit and train volunteers to listen out for wellbeing.
  • To create a safe place in Wareham where people can meet regularly.
We began by setting up an initial meeting with a couple of members of Wareham Community that we already knew existed:
 
  • Volunteers
  • Businesses owner
  • Interested organisations.
 
We contacted a member of Dorset Council who is the commissioner of better days project and interested in supporting community projects in Wareham. We then invited one local businessperson, a volunteer and two organisations.
 
Our first meeting was arranged through lockdown and via Zoom and 6 people attended this. We have a representative of the learning disability community but are looking for a person who has learning disabilities themselves so we can support them to make changes.
 
Regular meetings have been set up monthly on the same day around the same time. We have set up a date with the action group to meet for a community outdoor lunch at the end of June. We have also set up a provision date in July for an event to help support the local community to ease back into meeting up.
 
We have formed partnerships with, and they are represented on the action group:
  1. People first Dorset – helping friendships and speaking up groups.
  2. Leonard Cheshire – nature programme.
  3. Dorset Council – help securing venues at cheaper cost.
  4. Help & Care – social prescribers referring and helping with volunteer support.
  5. Three Volunteers- mentors, ambassador, and befriender.
 
We would like to include the town council in our meetings and have approached them for a representative and are seeking a person with learning disabilities to represent additional needs on our group.
 
Once we can meet in person, we have agreed on a suitable venue and shall approach the venue for a discount for coffee and teas. We envisage that the action group will take it in turns to be present at the café once a week or fortnightly to be there to guide people in the right direction for voluntary opportunities, activities or just for a listening ear and a cuppa. This project will go on being supported by Volunteer Centre Dorset through lottery funding for the next 4 years.
 
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Thanks to Siobhan Davis for sharing her project with us. If you would like to become a Community Listener, take a look here. 

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About Inner Compass

Liz Scott & Stu Newberry are trainers, coaches and speakers. They work with individuals and groups across the UK. They also help develop coaching cultures (founded on wellbeing) within schools and organisations.

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