At the beginning of June, we decided it would be a nice gesture to make up some welcome back packs to give to groups ready for when the Neighbourhood Centres reopen on 21st June. We included all the essentials including tea, coffee, sugar and biscuits as well as some hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes. We also put in some posters/information which can be displayed around the Centres to help to keep people safe. Unfortunately, the opening of the Centres got delayed until Monday 19 July, however, we decided to go out and deliver the packs to the Chair of the group at their homes. The packs were very well received, and the groups were very grateful for them, they were also very pleased to see us and have a chat. They all said how much they are looking forward to the Centres reopening and to start and use them again. They have missed getting together over the past 16 months.
“Carol and I had a really lovely surprise this morning, when Rachel and Rob called from RotherFed and brought Coffee, Sugar and Biscuits etc in readiness of the opening of the Centre which is hoped to be re-opened in the near future.
This was a very kind gesture from RotherFed which is much appreciated”. Quote from Keith Stringer after we dropped off a welcome back pack.
Rob was invited to join the Bevan Crescent coffee morning on Tuesday 20th July where he met residents and members of the TARA. The group was really pleased at the prospect of getting back into the centre after all this time and the easing of restrictions but had decided to hold the event on Keith’s Garden due to the ages of the members and the fact that it was a glorious day. During the coffee morning the group decided to re-open the centre on the 27th July unless it was as hot again. The group said that they would like to keep wearing masks when in the centre except when seated and that they would have a designated tea maker to minimise contact, this was a unanimous vote. Keith and the group were over the moon with the ‘Welcome Back’ pack provided by RotherFed and couldn’t thank me enough for the help and support he has received through lockdown. Keith was especially happy with the CCTV Rob supported them to get for the centre through the housing hub suggestions last year.
Crème Eggs, Dinosaur costumes and two schools with lots of very excited children!
Dan and Sam had originally planned to do community walks in East Dene and East Herringthorpe with the support of the Canklow Dinosaur group. They were to take place at Easter when the COVID-19 restrictions were supposed to be eased.
The restrictions stayed in place and we ended up with a cupboard full of crème eggs that couldn’t go anywhere. We struggled to effectively work out in our communities and have had to find new ways to engage with people.
One of our latest projects has been to engage with schools on a literacy based project and as a result of this we have discovered from the staff point of view how difficult it has been for schools to engage with children and their families so that young people can achieve their full potential. Young people are struggling to be enthusiastic about attending school, the rules for them are continually changing and for some of the youngest children in school, they haven’t attended school in a non COVID environment.
We proposed to two of the schools that we are working with that we could go into school, as dinosaurs, as a bit of a treat for the youngsters as they have come to the end of this school year. Both schools said that the Key Stage 2 children are “too cool for dinosaurs” but they would appreciate the gift of the eggs.
So in baking heat, we made two visits to lots of excited children. It was so good to be able to provide a fun activity for the schools and we know that it was really enjoyed by the children as they flocked round us and made comments like “You’re my favourite Dinosaur”.
Dan had worked with Andrea Mason Vardy (RMBC) on creating a promotion day for the Bin Amnesty happening in Ferham to gather information from residents about their bins and when they needed to put them onto the street.
On the day we all met outside the Ferham community space, and the team consisted of staff and volunteers from Rotherfed, RMBC, Clifton Learning Partnership, Ferham Community Group as well as being supported by Cllr Ben Aveyard. Armed with translated leaflets, pen and paper we went into Ferham for a bin Door knock to listen and engage with residents.
By Claire Stinson, Community Support Worker & Karen Jay, Community Support Worker
One of the guys has got a job, albeit on agency but the guys from Good Work have contacted him and are going to support him to get a full-time job. He’s worried about buying boots etc. for going back into work so we gave him the contact details for Access to Work to see if they can help. He’s so happy with what we’ve done that he’s told his ex-wife to come and see us, along with her ex-partner. He’s chuffed to bits and said thanks to talking to us, it gave him the kick he needed to get things done.
Unfortunately, his job with the agency didn’t work out, because it didn’t suit him and the barriers he faces daily but he’s still being supported by Good Work and his job hunt is going well. With the support of Good Work, they will ensure the next job will be more suitable to his needs. Until then, he will still be getting the support from Social Supermarket to make sure he can still feed himself and his daughter.
We also had a conversation about his TV license, he’d been paying £25 since 2018. He said he was going to leave it, until I calculated that it would be nearly £500, they owe him. His eyes lit up and he said he’s going to call them back. TV licensing investigated it for him and they’ve agreed he’s paid too much. He’s now got his TV license free until the end of next year and will be getting a cheque for two hundred pounds.
During discussions with various groups and organisations there has been a recurring suggestion for a group to be formed for people who want to grow their own food. Not everyone has a suitable space to do this so a community allotment garden might be what they are looking for. Spaces should be as accessible and inclusive as possible so that there are no barriers for anyone to get involved if they want to. We contacted the Rotherham Allotment Alliance to find out if they have any suitable sites that are accessible for people who may use public transport and who may also have disabilities. They suggested the Rectory Field site at Rawmarsh East might be suitable for a community plot as they had a vacant plot that, until recently, had been used by a local school.
The plot is a reasonable size, accessible, fully fenced and has a greenhouse and chemical toilet.
Volunteers would be needed to help clear the plot first of any debris, and install raised beds, paths, and a seating area. The greenhouse provides space for indoor growing and shelter so could be adapted too. Another plot there is used by the Salvation Army who are very helpful and interested in helping if a group decides to use the plot.
I met with Emma about Sunnyside Supplies. So far, the group have delivered over 2000 food parcels over the pandemic to customers in the Bramley and Ravenfield area,
The group are wanting to turn the food bank into a social supermarket with a social café after visiting the Rotherham minister, the group have asked for advice how to do this as well as help with changing the constitution and putting risk assessments in place by the 6/7/2021 as this is the date the group want to make the transition.
The group already have 22 existing members wanting to access the supermarket when it opens and are planning a big advertising push on Facebook alongside a leaflet drop.
The proposed changes were adopted at the group’s AGM on 29/06/2021 along with a new committee to help run the social supermarket and café. The group have asked to become Rotherfed members and are wanting to run money management sessions in the café.
As part of the Community Pride initiative, we have been providing 40-yard roll on roll off skips on a quarterly basis for the past few years. We hold them in different areas of the village and they have always been very well accepted and much needed.
Due to the Covid 19 pandemic and the restrictions in place, we have not been able to have any skips in the village and the last one was in late 2019.
Litter picks have continued throughout the pandemic to help keep the village tidy, however, people have been unable to get rid of the larger items.
On Saturday 26 June we ordered two community skips for the village, one went on the Miners Institute carpark and one at the top of the village on Loxley Road. Also, for the first time we hired a man with a van to collect rubbish from people’s gardens which they were struggling to get rid of. This proved to be really successful with over 14 houses asking for help. This is something that we definitely do again.
Eight volunteers helped manage the skips and the new local MP Alexander Stafford attended as did both the new local elected members for the Thurcroft and Wickersley South Ward, Zach Collingham and Thomas Singleton, who all got stuck in and helped people to get their items onto the skip. The Rotherham Advertiser also came along and took a couple of photographs, which will hopefully be in this week’s newspaper.
By 11.30am both skips were full and ready to be collected. We will look at having another skip in a month or two at the bottom of the village so the whole village has been covered.
All in all, it was a very successful Saturday morning.
Coleridge Primary School contacting me in May to discuss organising a litter pick for the school pupils. Ian Tankard the head teacher of the school has seen community activities in the area that he lives and has been inspired. Ian wants to teach primary pupils about respecting the community and the positive impacts they can have on it.
After our first official meet, I contacted partners to get involved on the day and I had begun working on the Coleridge Community Hero programme.
The litter pick took place on the 25th June. Wayne from the Love where you live programme has been able to provide equipment to the school for the Litter pick. The kids were able to have dinosaur themed pickers and some hi-vis vests. Ian also attended with 2 Coleridge teachers who had organised the 25 pupils into 3 groups. Wayne, Sam and I joined a group each to help support pupils with the pick and to be safe whilst out on the activity. Both Ruksana Haleem and Wendy Cooksey both attended the activity speaking with pupils and teachers. Although the weather was not the best a little drizzle of rain never hurt anyone. The pupils were enthusiastic and had identified lots of litter around the school grounds despite the weather. The biggest find being an abandoned pair of shoes and they had managed to locate an area on that was heavily littered but could not be accessed. As a result Wayne Munroe Smith has enquired about the area to see if it can be cleaned.
Part of a listening that came from a local resident suggested that something needs to be done around how women feel in their community. Do they feel safe? Are there black spots recognized within the neighbourhood that women avoid?
I approached RUCST (Rotherham United Community Sports Trust) as I was aware that they were already working with women in other areas. RUCST were already looking for another opportunity to replicate their current program of work so we were able to quickly turn our ideas around and start our project.
The project consists of 14 weekly walks in and around Herringthorpe Valley Park, some sessions delivered to help women recognize services that can support them and a self defence session.
The first few sessions have been really successful, with different women from different backgrounds attending. Everyone is getting to know each other and we’re slowly building up relationships, the conversations are getting more in depth and I aim to get some more opinions and see how the community could work together to improve going forward.