Ferham Community Cafe Presents Picnic In The Park

During the summer the Timebuilders Community café has been ran outside in Ferham Park as ‘Picnic in the Park’.

This was to further engage families and young people who would not necessarily come into a church through either personal or physical barriers.

Rotherham Federation community organiser Vicky Hilton, Christine Batchford from Timebuilders and volunteers promoted the 6 week programme through door knocking, attending local events and speaking with local partners. Whilst running an assembly at Ferham School. We discussed the idea with young people and created an immersive learning environment in which young people helped us set up a picnic within their school hall. We then arranged a couple of sessions talking to and promoting the activities to the families collecting their children on the school gate.

100s of local families were engaged with and invited along to the picnic. Mascots— minion and Marshal from Paw Patrol—helped to attract a lot of attention!

The Timebuilders serving families food

Staff, volunteers and local people provided a  delicious range of homemade food from fresh salad to rice dishes, which were very popular with families. The sessions gave local people the opportunity to socialise and make new friendships with other local people attending the picnic, with plenty of activities for the children to do including parachute games, rounder’s, cricket and a scavenger hunt ran by Places for People.

Childrens activities at the Ferham picnic

The summer picnics have now come to an end but the events have been incredible for local life and community cohesion. Over the 6 weeks hundreds of individuals and families have attended the picnic and Christine from Timebuilders has done an incredible job alongside the volunteers and local community members to make it work. Without the team all working together the project would have been much harder.

We now hope that this will encourage more families to further engage with activities at the Church including the community café which will now take place in the Church again every Monday evening.

This was taken from our Autumn ‘Connect’ newsletter. Click here to read the newsletter.

East Herringthorpe Litter Pickers

Local East Herringthorpe resident, Natalie approached Community Organiser Penny Thompson after a concern of the amount of rubbish thrown on the streets.

Natalie and Penny discussed potential solutions to the waste on the streets and Natalie was passionate about ‘doing something to help her own community’. Penny suggested she attend Community Organiser training in order to equip her with the skills and knowledge when working with the community.

Natalie was excited with the idea to lead a community clean-up in the area, dates for the clean up and partners to involve were discussed including Street Pride’s ‘Love Where You Live’ Wayne Munroe-Smith, High Greave School and Tesco. Another ex-resident, Michael also suggested the Titans Rugby Club who may be able to donate game match tickets for the under 16s.

They agreed what we needed to complete, a poster was designed and the event was promoted through social media as well as through links with the local school and community champion at Tesco. Natalie with the support of Michael contacted Street Pride, The Titans, RotherFM, and The Advertiser.

Natalie planned where the litter pick would take place and on the day, 1st August, 2 members of the Yorkshire Party Chris Whitwood and Jack Carrington came to support the event. They all rolled up their sleeves and began cleaning around the disused ground on Laudsdale Road and Lady Oak Crescent, with lots of residents supporting Natalie’s idea of promoting civic pride. 

After 2 hours, over 30 bags of rubbish had been collected as well items that managed to fill a council pick up van. The litter pick was thoroughly enjoyed so much it will be becoming a weekly event.

Every Thursday there will be a clean up 9am—11am, meeting at High Greave School gates. With the support of Love Where You Live the group was given litter picks, high visibility jackets, black bags and hoops as well as a trolley for those with mobility issues who still wish to get involved. Contact Penny Thompson for more information or if you’d like to be involved in East Herringthorpe.

This was taken from our Autumn ‘Connect’ newsletter. Click here to read the newsletter.

Residents Form Swinburne Social Club

A group of residents have worked to form a committee and the group ‘Swinburne Social Club’

Over the last year Rotherham Federation has supported a group of residents to come together to tackle the issues and social isolation they were facing in their own community, during the last 5 months the residents have been working to put everything needed in place such as their constitution, a bank account and starting to raise funds.

They have worked with RMBC in getting their residents centre re-decorated and have put on community engagement activities including a mothers day lunch. The group have undergone food hygiene and first aid training so they are well equipped to run more events in the future.

The group are now planning a jumble sale in hope to raise more funds for to allow them to develop more activities. Rotherham Federation has supported the group by listening to their issues and directing them on how to address them, for the future they are keen to engage with their Area Housing Panels and develop projects looking at more lighting for the community.

Earlier in the year Rotherham Federation recognised the work they have achieved in such little time and they were awarded with a silver group award. If you want to be involved with the group they meet for a cuppa and a chat at the Swinburne residents centre in Herringthorpe every Tuesday and Thursday at 1.30pm. Everyone is always welcome!

Swinburne Social Club

This was taken from our Autumn ‘Connect’ newsletter. Click here to read the newsletter.

Henley Community Group

By Vicky Hilton, Community Organiser

Henley Community Group (Henley TARA) are a group of local residents who come together on a weekly basis to plan and deliver activities within their area. They identify local issues and needs by talking to residents and engaging them in activities such as weekly bingo, youth clubs, trips and further support for the community. Many of the groups members are seen as ‘pillars’ within their community and support other residents living within the Henley area for over 15 years. The majority of the group are over 60 years of age.

The project will support the group’s priority of bringing communities together by enabling the group to help local residents who suffer from poor health, often disguised as loneliness and isolation. The TARA want to ensure a good quality of life for local residents, especially in this case for the elderly residents. They want to give local residents a chance to feel healthier and happier about where they live and the opportunities they can take as a community.

With high levels of deprivation, particularly around the Henley area, elderly residents cannot often afford or do not have a supportive network and family which enables them to get away on holidays and day trips out of the borough. We want to guarantee that there are fun things to do for people of all ages as its often the elderly residents that get overlooked.

When planning I hope that by giving this disparate community a chance to come together and help build a stronger and more cohesive community it will have an effect on the sustainability of the group. The idea of a trip will bring volunteers and leaders out, who then naturally take a lead role within their community. By ‘doing with’ we hope to achieve a better outcome, not just for individuals but for the wider community. We encourage people to get involved in their neighbourhoods and help each other, which in turn can lead to community action and stronger communities, drawing in on existing strengths and tapping into the skills and knowledge of individuals and the community as a whole.

Henley TAR are working with the community to organise a trip in which local residents visit a local seaside town. This will be a community decision with a workshop to consult with local people as to where they would like to visit and how it is to be organised. Already the group have met with me to share and speak about their ideas as a group and identify the support needed. I have helped the group to further consult and to make sure other local residents voices are heard when planning the project.

The project addresses many different priorities which benefit local people. By working closely with Henley TARA we have ensured the project addresses and identifies further need within the community ensuring that it is community led.

We have planned a day trip, out of the borough, predominantly with residents who are 50+ who work hard all year to ensure the young people and families get away.

As volunteers they also organise community seasonal activities such as Easter events and Father Christmas for the wider community. We have booked a 45 seater coach which will ensure many of the elderly residents can attend.

Working together I have supported the group to apply for CLF (community leadership fund) in which they have been successful in receiving £375 in which the group will use on a community trip to Mapplethorpe before the end of the year.

Springwell’s 20th Anniversary Street Party

By Dan Barron, Community Organiser

The Springwell Tenants and Resident’s association held the 20th Anniversary street party representing the opening of the Springwell estate after the Oakhill flats had been demolished. The event saw over 30 residents of all ages walk through the doors. There were games and competitions for the residents to participate in, to win prizes which consisted of a £100 Asda shopping voucher and a £50 Asda shopping voucher as the main prizes. All food was donated by local supermarkets and residents were encouraged to bring stalls to the event and sell some wares. This was a credit to the tenants and Resident’s association for being so proactive in sourcing the donations.

Every month for the last five months the TARA has hosted a residents meeting where residents can come together to discuss the problems they are experiencing on the estate. The first meetings saw 3 residents attend but 4 months down the line 24 residents came to an inclusive meeting to share and talk about the problems and how they can create positive change in the community. The residents had prioritised what they believe to be the biggest problems on the estate through a democratic voting process and the TARA has now began to work towards that.

When Jacqui and Michelle first wanted to take social action to create positive change in the community. But didn’t really know how to. At first, they were more reactive and followed the decisions of more experienced members that founded the Tenants and Residents association. However, as the TARA has progressed, they have both put their best foot forward when they are learning new processes, always giving 100% effort. Although at times it has been hard and time consuming, their commitment to the tenants and resident’s association has been amazing. They continue to strive to make their community great by wanting to learn and develop their skills every week.

They have continued to attend training sessions to understand the community organiser process, seek digital support in learning new digital skills or for general advice. It is due to their unprompted commitment that they have become more confident and knowledgeable. As a result, between them they have chaired meetings, recorded minutes and are continuing to be developing positive relationships with service providers, local authorities and councillors in the area. Additionally, they are taking further steps to become more autonomous creating positive change in the area for residents. A further credit to them is their ability to positively challenge action that directly affect the Tenants and Residents Association that could be considered as exclusive bringing an equilibrium to the acting board.

Moving forward the TARA is planning a Christmas event in the future, looking at a bank account and they have now significantly increased their membership.

Dinnington Boxing Group

By Ian Huddleston, Community Organiser

Dinnington boxing group have continued to work after signing their constitution and putting on trial classes by having sessions throughout the summer at The Lyric. These have been successful, with the young people continuing to come back and they are enjoying taking part.

The next step was to try and attract more young people to the sessions so the group looked at ways in which this could be achieved. A meeting was set up with the head teacher of Dinnington High School, who has seen the good work already achieved by the group on twitter and through conversations with me a Rotherham Federation community organiser.

I met with head teacher and vice principle Rebecca and Debs last week (unfortunately David couldn’t make it due to work commitments) and talked about what the group had done up until now, the aim of the group and how we think the group and the school could work together.

Rebecca was really behind what the group was doing and thought that it was just what the school needed. We talked about how the sessions would be run and how we could separate the classes for the younger and older students.

The school agreed to have the group in 2 times per week as part of an after school club, one for the younger students (year 7-9) and one for the older students (year 10 and 11) so they can run the sessions specifically for their needs.

This really shows that there is a need in the area for the group and it has the full backing not only of the school, but also the Mayor and local Councillors have given their backing and support.

The group have now set up a bank account and a funding bid of £4,000 has been submitted to South Yorkshire Police Crime Commissioner, which will pay for 1 session per week for 12 months, all of the equipment needed – which has been agreed it will be stored at the school – and training so the group can train up another coach to cover or can help if the group numbers become high. Another “awards for all” bid will be put in this week for £9,000 which will pay for a further 2 sessions per week for the year, plus equipment, training and media costs so they can run another weekly session at The Lyric or High Nook.

In the meeting with the school, it was also discussed how Rotherham Federation can help them with engaging their students with the community and help them set up a community garden, so the students are able to grow food, maintain it and look after it.

Further meetings with the head teacher are to be arranged to plan out the community gardens, and to work with volunteers to set this up. Also, to arrange projects over the term such as litter picks with the students around Dinnington and “random acts of kindness” (3 weeks up to Feb half term) to try break down generational boundaries within the community.

Creswell Road Cemetery Clean Up

By Penny Thompson, Community Organiser

“I met Penny when she was on East Herringthorpe, asking about how people viewed the estate and what was happening in the community. One of the things we talked about was my work in the local cemetery”

Nora Platt

Whilst I was door knocking, I met a local resident called Nora Platt who had been volunteering at Creswick Road cemetery, cleaning graves and researching the war and pit graves. Nora discussed that the cemetery was looking over run and a lot of the graves were covered and that some of the graves were based in the boundary area which couldn’t be reached anymore. We then began to discuss some issues, and I encouraged her to reflect on what the issues were and explore any ideas or solutions to these issues.

“Three years ago in November 2016 I decided to take some of the 100 poppies I had knitted in Remembrance of the Battle of the Somme, to the cemetery to put them on soldiers graves. I found 13 war graves which were neglected and over grown. The following Spring after getting permission from Father Andrew I began clearing the graves and the cemetery I spent months clearing accumulated rubbish, some of the boundary fence was invisible and cutting back trees. A few other people came in at this time to clear round their graves and they cut back some trees and grass. Later I found other soldiers on family graves and I maintain those too.

In nearly three years I have cleared approximately 200 graves or what remains of some graves. Most of the graves were totally covered in grass sods, ivy, nettles and brambles. It is a constant battle to keep the trees and weeds from taking over again. On average I put in between 300 and 350 voluntary hours per year, depending on the weather.”

Nora Platt

Nora began discussing that there may be a potential opportunity in creating a group that would like to clean the cemetery on a regular basis. We arranged a meeting with Father Lee and Tim Roberts from Holy Trinity Church to discuss the idea and ensure we all worked in partnership taking on advice from the church in order to adhere to all current regulations. We promoted the idea via media such as Facebook in order to attract interest. A local volunteer and I then began to connect with people with shared interests, so we met with Cllr Ian Jones to discuss the potential of MVCV becoming involved.

The volunteers agreed a date and time and began promoting the 2 days of action to bring people together and use local resources. The volunteers on the day reviewed what equipment we had i.e petrol strimmer’s, loppers etc and and work out a structured approach. At this point we had over 14 volunteers attend made up of residents and MVCV, we also had Rugby Player Paddy Shaw from The Titans.

“I have carried on my own for a while now, just doing what I could, it is my ‘gym’ and my peace and quiet and it is very tempting not to change things. The only reason I thought it needed more people was because they will come a day when I cannot do it anymore and I don’t want it to go back to how it was. There is also the difficulty with getting the grass cut, the church only pays for three cuts a year and it is not enough. When we had the ‘two day clean up’ it made such a difference, it made me believe that the cemeteries overgrown state could be a thing of the past. It is hard work but it is so rewarding and the group that came along worked so hard and gave me hope for the future.”

Nora Platt

Over the 2 days the group cleared over 100 graves and two thirds of the area. They marked out clear paths for people to walk, removed moss carpets from the walls giving grave visitors somewhere to sit. It also gave the volunteers an opportunity to discuss further action. The group had decided to clear the graves on the first Tuesday of every month. Going forward the group have discussed other ideas they would like to put in place. They would like to become a constituted group in the future and would like to apply for funding to put together a notice board, they would also like to link in with local a business in Sheffield who would create an augmented reality video using QR codes telling the stories of the war hero and pit disaster graves.

“We have set the first Tuesday in the month for having a clean up day. We are going to look at funding for equipment. We are looking at encouraging more local people to be involved and forming a Friends of Group. Form a long term plan for the continued care of the cemetery.”

Nora Platt

KBUG – Kiverton Bungalow Users Group

By Vicky Hilton, Community Organiser

Kiverton Bungalow Users Group (KBUG) are a group of RMBC tenants who have been active for a long period of time, with around 20 regular members involved. They have a weekly lunch club, bingo, a knit and natter, arrange social trips and generally help local older people to come together socially.

A couple of months ago, the KBUG group were going through a few changes and struggling a little bit to keep things going. In May, I attended their group meeting and was informed that the groups chair and treasurer had sent in their resignation letters. This was a bit of a shock for the group as it was out of the blue and no reason given, so it left the group a bit down and unsure if they really wanted to carry on.

At the meeting, I helped them in voting in new members to take up the positions which the group voted on. I offered support particularly to the member who had taken up the treasurer roll, who was nervous about the responsibility. I reminded the group of the services Rotherham Federation offered regarding helping with their accounts, and that they would have our support through this period.

By the next meeting, the group seemed a little more settled, and with the members in their new positions we looked at where the group wanted to go. The treasurer seemed to have got on top of the accounts and was a lot happier & the group were now looking at ways in which they could raise some funds for the sustainability of the group going forward. I advised that if they were looking for funds, I could look at potential bids for them.

The group then decided that they would like to start putting on a Saturday night social once per month, which they started on 15th June. This was a real success, with all members bringing in food they had prepared. This led the group on to arrange a Faith supper on 20th July at the centre and booking a day trip to Bakewell on 5th August.

Thurcroft Young People

By Rachel Cole, Projects Officer

Prior to Thurcroft receiving the £1 million lottery money in 2012, there was nothing much for the young people in Thurcroft. The village has always wanted to have a youth club, but due to funding and a suitable location to hold a club this was not possible.

In 2013, thanks to the investment from the Lottery, a youth worker was employed to move this project forward and since then two youth clubs have been running on a weekly basis. There are two clubs, a juniors (11-15) on a Friday and a seniors (16-19) on a Tuesday. Both clubs now run from the Thurcroft Hub and there is now over 500 young people on their register.

The young people are involved in many different activities including the gala, litter picks, attending big local conferences where they have run workshops, dance and sporting activities, outdoor pursuit weekends plus much more. In 2017 they took on a derelict allotment with the help of the allotment holders and members of the community and this is going from strength to strength. The young people also do a lot of their own fundraising.

Three young people aged between 11 and 13 have regularly attended the Big Local monthly partnership meetings over the years which has been amazing to see. Other Big Local areas comment on how difficult it is to get younger people involved in their area.

In January of this year, three young people became partnership members, giving them a say and a vote about how the remainder of the funding is spent. They had to attend 3 consecutive meetings before they could apply and also complete a formal application form saying why they wanted to join the partnership and what they had to offer. They were asked to present their “pitch” at a partnership meeting.

It’s been really good to hear the young people’s ideas and opinions and is brilliant that they want to get involved with the community.

The young people represent Thurcroft on many occasions and it is always noted what a credit they are to the village. Thurcroft should be very proud of this.