The area: Worsley Neighbourhood for Learning (NfL) is part of Haslingden town in the Rossendale Borough of east Lancashire. It is a mix of urban and rural communities and it is culturally diverse. The resilience programme seeks to explore how local action can tap into existing initiatives to improve community wellbeing by enhancing social connectedness amongst those who live and work in the neighbourhood.
Who we are: The Neighbourhood Resilience Programme (NRP) in Worsley involves local residents who are helping to identify priorities for the neighbourhood along with other stakeholders. These include Lancashire County Council, Haslingden Community Link, Rossendale Borough Council and NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group. Links with other organisations and groups in the area have also been established. These include Haslingden Civic Pride, the British Legion, Rossendale Radio, Together Lancashire, Near Neighbours Fund, Credit Union, Living Well, Living Better project, REAL (Rossendale Enterprise Anchor Limited) and APNA (an Asian women’s group).
What we have done:
The NRP has worked with residents and community groups to identify the main issues affecting Worsley. This included informal conversations as well as conducting a questionnaire gathering views from residents and community organisations about connectedness. Main concerns to emerge were:
- lack of awareness of community activities and a need for more co-ordination between community groups and service providers as well as lack of knowledge about who/which organisation to contact about an issue affecting their area;
- desire to get more residents active and engaged in the local community;
- need for more opportunities for ‘connectedness’ between the different social and ethnic groups, especially people who might be isolated or face challenges in meeting or socialising with others;
- transport barriers and how they negatively impact connectedness.
Resilience enhancing emerging actions:
In light of these issues, local activity is focused on ‘social connectedness’: aiming to increase social interaction/socialising and engagement between different social groups, organisations and communities in the neighbourhood. Three themes have been identified; information and communication, activities that support social connectedness and transport.
Key activities that have taken place:
- An artist has worked with residents and stakeholders to produce a booklet ‘What’s your story?’ that presents key findings from the local enquiry and of residents’ experiences of social connectedness and well-being. The booklet is being used to gather feedback on the issues presented and to support the next steps to increase social connectedness.
- Two community organisation networking events took place in February and November 2018 bringing together local service providers and community groups to explore ways of working together and how representatives can link into the programme and support action
- Residents Advisers more recently have been involved in conducting resident conversations on experiences of transport and the impacts of transport barriers. The findings have been used to produce an animation shared with transport providers and local decision makers to influence action. A community transport working group has now been established to take forward actions from the animation.
Neighbourhood academic lead Koser Khan; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org