Sarah Taylor, Chief Executive of the Wolseley Trust
What is the Wolseley Trust?
It is a community and economic development trust and we were established in 1997. Development trusts are a model for regeneration and we were created to address economic, health and social deprivation in a designated area of need which is the west of the city. We are also a model of community democracy so we are neighbourhood-based and community led. It’s an opportunity for local people to get involved and have their say as we are a membership organisation and we currently have a membership of over 500 local residents. You can join us for free, find out what’s going on in the community and have a say and help shape our activities.
How can the Wolseley Trust help people affected by what happened in Keyham?
As soon as we heard about the tragedy we wanted to make sure that people knew we were very much open and accessible and that residents could turn to us straight away. We also wished to make it really clear about what support we could offer immediately and, of course, in the medium to longer term as well.
We run a large range of services which can all be accessed for free. We’re commissioned by Plymouth City Council and Primary Care to deliver health services including a counselling service and through that and our Healthy Futures social prescribing service we are currently helping people affected by what happened in Keyham.
We also have the Jan Cutting Wellbeing Hub where people can come and access a range of services and activities that are either directly delivered in the hub or we act as a link to a network of over 450 partners across Plymouth. Our services cover volunteering and employment, healthy lifestyles, housing and legal benefits, debt support, care advocacy, befriending and support groups, and we have social activities such as arts and crafts, our own community café and gym, physical activity sessions and health improvement services such as how to stop smoking. People can phone us, access links through our website or social media, or we have a friendly team waiting for you if you just fancy popping in for a chat.
What is your relationship like with the community?
We have a very strong bond which is the result of being embedded in the community for a number of years. It’s quite a large community, made up of different neighbourhoods, and we’ve always had a strong membership that is very engaged and involved. Of course many of our staff are local and have a very personal connection with what happened in Keyham. The impact has run deep through this organisation and that’s where the passion and determination to try and support and help really comes through.
And you also run the Plymouth Together Fund on behalf of the council?
Yes. We were approached by Plymouth City Council to act as the central co-ordination hub to receive the fantastic fundraising efforts that have been going on and to act as a central point to ensure safe distribution as to where those donations are intended. And as a not-for-profit organisation we don’t draw any income or profit from it and none of the funds go into administration. We are encouraging people to donate to us directly to avoid any processing or transaction fees that you sometimes get on some of the bigger sites. We have a great team here so people are more than welcome to give us a ring and find out more about how the fund is working, how the hub works and what the forward planning is.