PRESS RELEASE

22 June 2021 – for immediate release

New Community Hub Network Takes a Step Forward

An application for funding for a number of pilot community hubs across North Somerset has just made it through the first stage! The application includes funding for premises to support the work of the many voluntary sector, community action and mutual aid groups in the area and a programme of digital inclusion and creative activities.

An independent survey has been launched by Voluntary Action North Somerset (VANS) to help identify what people want and need, including the kind of initiatives that local communities feel will best help to support recovery. Everyone is invited to participate, and your feedback is now more important than ever. You can share your views at https://westoncovidcommunityrecovery.commonplace.is/

The data gathered will be published and openly shared to help all organisations and community groups plan for the future. It will also be used to support further funding applications.

Paul Lucock, CEO VANS, said: ‘We’re asking everyone in North Somerset for their help. If everyone could spare just ten 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. Anything that people can do to help will be really appreciated.’

VANS have 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.

Sayd Ahmed, NS BME Network Chairperson, 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 Hubs will also help to build connections between communities and provide a base for community action on a diverse range of issues from climate change to economic recovery.

Ian Noah, NS 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 survey will be live until mid-July at https://westoncovidcommunityrecovery.commonplace.is/

The survey and the Community Hub project are being supported by Weston Town Council, together with Redport and the Creating Communities Together Team (a group of built environment professionals who work with Councils and other organisations to help deliver viable solutions for local communities).

The Government’s decision on the funding application is expected at the end of July.

NOTES

Voluntary Action North Somerset is an independent charity that has championed the voluntary sector and volunteering across North Somerset for over twenty-two years. They represent, develop and empower the voluntary community and social enterprise sector in North Somerset to be at the forefront of positive social change and development.

North Somerset Black and Minority Ethnic Network has been supporting BME/BAME communities across North Somerset for more than thirteen years. They help to develop projects and mutual collaborations with statutory and non-statutory organisations to promote inclusion. They also support individuals and help to give a voice to marginalised groups and the many smaller BME/BAME organisations in North Somerset.

Redport develops cross-sector collaborations and provides strategic support for participatory approaches to community development and regeneration. Redport is a founding member of the Creating Communities Together project.

Creating Communities Together works with Councils and local organisations to explore ways of delivering desirable and resilient community-centred outcomes.