Debbie Burton, Community Hub Lead for Plymouth City Council
What is the Community Hub?
It’s a space for local residents to access support. We can connect anyone who walks in with support needs to the right services and agencies. It’s a friendly, open space and we’re currently based in Keyham Green Places (KGP) but we also take a Pop-Up Hub out to any local organisations or schools that would like to host us. We also have drop-ins most Mondays where different organisations such as the local police team come and engage with residents.
The key partners are the Wolseley Trust, KGP, Keyham Neighbourhood Watch and the Keyham Police Team. Nicki from Wolseley Trust’s Wellbeing Hub is here through the week. We also host events and act as a base for local organisations and volunteers to network and we would like to hear from local people as to what they want to see in the area and then develop local initiatives so that we can continue to move forward as a resilient, growing and thriving community.
When did it start?
The Community Hub was a direct response to the awful events in Keyham. We came out of the Reassurance Hub (previously based at Ford Primary School and Wolseley Trust Community Building) and we started at Keyham Green Places in mid-September. We are currently based at KGP because it’s right in the heart of Keyham and already hosts community-based activities and we wish to embed ourselves within the community and local activity.
How can the Community Hub help people affected by what happened in Keyham?
We can connect people to support services and make sure that anyone affected gets the help they need – and that can be for mental health support, health and wellbeing, support for their families, and then there’s specialist agencies out there for trauma-related support. So if you are struggling we urge people to come to us and we can put the kettle on, have a chat and signpost them to the right agency. If people do not want to walk through the door, or they do not feel ready, we can link people to the right services over the phone, via text, email or Facebook.
Can you tell us more about your Community Voices initiative?
Community engagement is a massive part of our work and we hold Community Voices events for the community to come along and tell us what they think Keyham and the surrounding areas need. At the moment we are asking specific questions in relation to government funding and public spaces so the other day we asked a group of craft participants about where they felt unsafe, what needs to change and what public spaces need improving. We want to ensure we are capturing voices from the community and then we know where there’s a need. We tour Community Voices around and listen to how residents feel about where they live.
What are your hopes for the Community Hub?
What I hope will come out of the Community Hub is a community voice that helps the community recovers, and a Community Development Plan which will include a variety of initiatives, for example, capacity building for local groups, projects focused on green spaces, safer streets, youngster people, children and older people. I hope this will be facilitated by the network of fantastic local organisations and volunteers already in place, busy working hard to support the community.