Case Study – Community Catalysts
A case study from Worcestershire County Council
“Jill, Chris, and Sian,
I would like to offer my congratulations to you for all your hard work in making the first of its kind Community Connect event such a great success.
I have had some great feedback about the range of small community businesses that were present and how well attended the event was. This event couldn’t have happened without all your hard work to pull this off.
Well done and thank you”
said Clare Marchant, Chief Executive at Worcestershire County Council after Community Catalysts‘ Community Connect event
On 18th February 2016, Worcestershire Community Micro-Enterprise project hosted a free Community Connect event. The event was aimed at people looking for care and support to engage and learn about local community groups and organisations. Local business people, willing to mentor community enterprises, were also urged to attend.
The afternoon drop in session saw small community groups – who provide local options for older people, people with disabilities – showcasing their work. Worcestershire has over 76 community micro-enterprises offering support to more than 1,100 local people.
One of these small community enterprises is called ‘Charisma Training’ and it makes a real difference by offering training and support using talking and large print smart phones and computers.
Charisma Training successes include:
- Enabling a man who had lost his sight due to diabetes, to research the design and manufacture of a brand new guitar – which he then made and played.
- Taught a lady, J, how to use Super Nova which magnifies text on a computer and speaks it as well. J said: “The training gave me my confidence back because I could check my own work, and correct my own mistakes without someone pointing them out to me. I was able to continue with my counselling career, and I am now undertaking further study in family therapy.”
- And…..one of the most heart-warming successes was for a grandfather who could scan his late wife’s letters into speech and then listen to them privately.
Stephanie Sergeant, owner of Charisma Training said: “The work we do with local people is hugely rewarding. I feel privileged to work with such fantastic people to look for solutions to the issues they face. We aim to give people back control and help them gain more independence in their lives.”
The event was also supported by the University of Worcester, who have provided joint networking opportunities through Worcester Enterprise, where local enterprises get the opportunity to speak with other local entrepreneurs as well as students.
The project run by Community Catalysts in partnership with Worcestershire County Council was extremely well-attended.
The architectural gem of the country’s only circular Chapter House was the venue offered by the Dean of Worcester, the Very Reverend Peter Atkinson. The Dean said: “Community Catalysts do important work in helping people help themselves. It was an excellent well attended event and I am delighted that the Cathedral played its part in helping to bring local people together.”
Councillor Ian Hopwood, Chairman of Worcestershire County Council said: “We aim to stimulate the development and growth of micro-enterprises within the health and social care sector. There are 76 community micro-enterprises in Worcestershire offering support to more than 1,100 local people. They are very small local enterprises that provide a range of care and support services.
“I was very interested to talk to the many small community groups – who provide local options for older people, people with disabilities – showcasing their work. These included activities that help people to gain a new skill or make new friends, lead a healthy life or enjoy a leisure activity.”
Sian Lockwood, Chief Executive of Community Catalysts said: “The event had two key themes, firstly helping providers of small care services to showcase what they do and secondly getting them help from mentors and volunteers. It was a great success and we will be building on this as a follow-up we are running a session at Worcester University in March to get people together who are looking for or offering mentoring. We hope to attract even more mentors as a result so do get in touch if you might be willing and need more information.”
Chris Clarke, Community Catalyst and organiser of the event summed the event up: “What really made the whole event work was the power it generated simply by bringing people together. For me this goes to show the amount of support that is available locally – if we just find ways to ask for it.”