Beacon Dementia and Wellbeing are active participants in Rossendale Connected.
The first meeting of Rossendale Connected was co-ordinated by Ken Masser, Chief Executive Officer of Rossendale Leisure Trust took place via Zoom on 19 March 2020, with the aim for community and statutory organisations to come together to rise to the Covid challenge. We were invited as an existing community organisation and our trustee Janet has attending all the meetings.
Ken Masser stated in his original invitation “thank you for everything you are already doing. I’ve been so proud to see how Rossendale is pulling together and trying to look after one another. We truly live and work in the best place in the world!”
Meetings were held with varying frequencies - weekly when Covid cases were high; fortnightly when numbers were medium but arrangements still needed monitoring; and monthly when there was no immediate cause for concern. Janet chaired the Zoom meetings from March to December 2021, playing a key role.
Through these meetings, relationships between partners (Rossendale Borough Council, Lancashire Fire and Rescue, GPs and Primary care Network, Police, Lancashire County Council, Foodbanks, Community Voluntary and Faith sectors) developed and resources and advice were shared. This helped to form a strong bond and we all began to learn where we could turn to for help when the need arose.
Rossendale Connected identified various focus items:
- Locating hard to reach vulnerable older people
- Sourcing and running a call centre so that people could ring in and ask for help
- Sharing grant funding sources and signposting financial advice
- Growing concern about general mental health and wellbeing, and ways to access help and advice
- Supporting schools with the Holiday Activities and Food programme
- Learning about and sharing information amongst voluntary organisations in the Valley.
Organically, schemes such as the Rossendale Food Boxes and the Little Community Libraries sprang up, an excellent example of how the community didn’t just rely on external assistance but created help for their own part of the community. These are also still being utilised and are invaluable in the current cost of living crisis.
Rossendale Connected held its first event, The Big Connect, online. From this, some key principles which could underpin Rossendale Connected were highlighted:
Connected – A recognition that we can accomplish more together than separately. The development of meaningful collboration, partnerships and shared resources are critical.
Leaderful – Leaderful approaches and behaviour focus on collaboration not control, authenticity, kindness, honesty, empowering hyper local leaders, connection not competition.
People Centred: An unrelenting focus on people in our place. Measuring all we do on whether the outcome is improved lives, versus aspiration for credit or financial gain. Listening and engaging with everyone as valued partners.
Appreciative: In all that we do, understanding and appreciating that genuine appreciation, gratitude and thanks can be the currency.
Two further events have been held - The Big Mental Health Connect and The Big School Connect.
The first face to face conference will be held on 28th April 2022 and all our trustees will be attending.
Training has also been provided. For example, Suicide Awareness (which Janet completed).
The Rossendale Connected meetings have now been combined with the Rossendale Health and Wellbeing partnership. The Health and Wellbeing Partnership meetings are held quarterly and chaired by Councillor Barbara Ashworth. Rossendale Connected meetings are held on the first Thursday of the month for 1 hour. Janet continues to attend all these meetings.