Monday saw Rachel and I helping Otley Action consulting with the users and volunteers – exploring people’s views of the barriers facing older people now and in the future. A significant theme which arose was that of older people being digitally excluded from key services: banking (nearly all the banks in Otley have closed), applying for Blue Badges which now has to be done online – how does that work when people don’t have computers, use the internet or have email addresses? It looks like we’ll be working with Otley Action to address this issue. There was a great energy and atmosphere with both groups of people there.
2019 sees us working with CNet on two fronts: running courses – a ‘Stronger Voices’ 3 day course in training skills for community representatives (with Steve Skinner – national expert in community engagement) and fundraising workshop followed by one to one mentoring at the AGM day in July. Both well received by participants working from a wide range of local organisations. The second front sees us supporting CNet with their fundraising work – more news to come soon.
Having supported Churches Together in Otley to set up a new charity – Otley Youth and Community Centre – we are now working with Graham Buttanshaw and colleagues to source funds to develop the old Salvation Army building into a youth and community centre. The trustees are from a range of Otley’s churches having in common the desire to support young people and adults in the town. Architects plans have been drawn up and discussions are taking place about the best possible layouts for the new centre to be. Our work is currently helping OYCC develop a strategic and business plan, as well as identifying potential funders.
We are really delighted to be working with Battle Scars in Leeds. Battle Scars is a new user led organisation working to support anyone who suffers from self harm. They work principally in West Yorkshire at the moment as well as having a worldwide Facebook group. Rachel and I will be working with Battle Scars to do two things: help them build a strategic and business plan and to initiate funding processes. This new organisation has been welcomed by many people already due to there being little or no specialist support in this increasingly worrying area. We’ll keep you posted!