More recruits are needed to join up with Community Connectors – a successful and ongoing local programme, writes Mary Salmon
The Community Connector role, which is voluntary, involves learning about the vast range of voluntary and statuary services available in Lambeth and then linking people with activities and organisations that can provide a safety net in a crisis, as well as social support and activities.
Longstanding Connector Charlotte O’Connor, who volunteers at Loughborough Farm opposite Wyck Gardens says: “Thanks to the programme’s support network and our monthly “safaris” around the neighbourhood to learn about what various organisations provide, I regularly use the skills we learn on our training courses.”
Charlotte obtained funding to open the volunteer-run community café at The Platform in Loughborough Junction for lunch on Thursdays and Fridays. Much of the food cooked there comes from Loughborough Farm.
“My role is not to be a mini social worker who must help everybody,” she says. ”It is to try to help people find the activities and services that will help them.
“I have learned so much through the Connectors programme that I feel like a walking/talking community notice board.”
The next round of Community Connector training begins on Wednesday 17 May. Volunteers also need to attend training on Thursday 1 June, Friday 2 June and Tuesday 27 June.
Sessions run from 9.30am to 3pm and take place at local venues. Volunteers should be able to attend all sessions.
The training will provide the opportunity to gain a Level 2 qualification in “Understanding Behaviour Change” certified by the Royal Society of Public Health.
Community Connectors are part of Project Smith, a wellbeing and health project funded by NHS Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group and Lambeth council.
Volunteers may already be working in the “third sector”, or may want to join for other reasons.
For information, contact Fraser Serle. at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07720 601048.