Vicky Angear Weston Mercury Published June 23, 2021

The hubs would support the work of voluntary and community aid groups in North Somerset. – Credit: Pixabay

A number of community hubs could be set up across North Somerset to help the area to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

A working group of community partners – including Voluntary Action North Somerset (VANS) and North Somerset BME Network – has applied for funding for a number of pilot hubs to support the work of the many voluntary sector, community action and mutual aid groups in the area.  

The application includes funding for premises and a programme of digital inclusion and creative activities.

VANS is appealing for people to take part in a survey to highlight the initiatives which are needed most.   

Paul Lucock, VANS chief executive, said: ‘We’re asking everyone in North Somerset for their help. If everyone could spare just 10 minutes to answer the questions in the survey, this would give us the data we need to plan appropriate action and to pursue the funding that is urgently needed.  

“We’re also asking everyone to share information on the survey on their social media, with friends and family, and through all their communications channels.” 

The data gathered will be published and shared to help all organisations and community groups plan for the future.

VANS has been coordinating action at a strategic level with the support of North Somerset Council, and North Somerset BME Network is just one of the groups that have been collaborating on the funding application. 

More: Charity enabling community groups and services to thrive in pandemic.

Sayd Ahmed, chairman for the North Somerset BME Network, said: ‘We’re proud to be connected with many organisations that are supporting local communities. A large number of these are doing so on a purely voluntary basis without any resources.  

“A space where people can meet informally and formally, to plan, to provide support, and to innovate, would make a huge difference in what can be achieved.’ 

The survey and the community hub project are being supported by Weston Town Council, together with Redport and the Creating Communities Together Team 

Ian Noah, North Somerset BME trustee said: “Many people talk about the disconnect between the different communities in North Somerset and a network of community hubs would make a real and very practical contribution to building better connections.

“In business, it is widely accepted that diverse cultural perspectives can inspire creativity and drive innovation and it is no different in the community and voluntary sector. A more inclusive community infrastructure would have wide reaching social and economic benefits.” 

The Government’s decision on the funding application is expected at the end of July. People have until mid-July to take the survey by logging on to:

https://westoncovidcommunityrecovery.commonplace.is/