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Meet Erewash Voluntary Action development
 worker Jo Hallam who is leading the way on setting up community connectors across our area. The connectors form a vital part of our link-up with the voluntary sector to forge closer relationships with local people.

Community connectors are local people who will use their local knowledge and involvement to connect people across the area to other local people, services, activities and groups. The programme recognises the fact that local people living and working in Erewash know the community better than statutory services do, and are often the best people to help others.

A network of connectors will be led by the people of Erewash, adopting a person-centred approach to improving health and wellbeing. They will identify strengths, potentials and opportunities (assets) that already exist in the local community. By gathering the views of local people, they
will establish what is important
to people in their community, identify changes they would like
to see and what would help to make those changes.

Erewash Voluntary Action development
worker Jo Hallam has been appointed to support connectors who want to enhance and strengthen their involvement in their community. Connectors may be actively involved in a local group, regularly come into contact with local people or may already be supporting others and linking them to resources of some kind.

Jo said: “The project’s role is to sign people up as connectors and to gather and share information among local people and local organisations. We’ll
be finding out what people don’t know about local facilities and services and finding out what they’d like to do.

“It’s about improving the connections and understanding in the local community. It could be, for example, that someone visits their local hairdresser and mentions that their husband has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. It’s about not leaving those conversations there, so if we have
been able to engage with local hairdressers, we can get them to move the conversations on a little bit and check whether the person is receiving relevant information and support.

“Part of my role will also be about working with targeted communities, supermarkets, libraries, and GP surgeries, and working out what services are out there and how can some people who might be isolated or lonely for example better access the support.”

Connectors will receive regular ongoing support from Jo Hallam – this will include one-to-ones and peer support meetings. They will receive training
to enhance their existing knowledge and develop new skills. Agreed out-of-pocket expenses will also be paid.

Jo has not long been in post but is pleased with the early progress made: “I’m from a voluntary sector background and worked with a previous organisation, Home Start in Erewash, so I knew the people here at the Erewash Voluntary Action and that’s helped a lot.

“I have high hopes for the project. I hope that by getting connectors out there that we can start to
see some real differences, we can start to see people engaged in the community that wouldn’t have been previously and I’d like to see it happen quite quickly. I’d like to see that the information gets spread out. One of the early conversations I’ve had is about working with the bigger organisations talking about how they spread out information as well and about how they connect with their service users. We need as many people and organisations as possible to be a part of this.”

If you would like to know more about community connectors, please contact Jo Hallam on
0115 946 6740 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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