THE CLOPTON and Bishopton areas of Stratford are set for a boost thanks to the appointment of a “Community Builder’.
Rachel Knight of Warwickshire Community and Voluntary Action has taken on the new role after being awarded the contract by Stratford District Council and has already started to work closely with residents in these communities.
She aims to help them to build on the local areas’ many strengths, to build opportunities for improved health and wellbeing, educational attainment, social interchange and tackle some of the issues arising from the impact of the pandemic.
The appointment of a Community Builder is part of SDC’s ‘strength-based’ approach to community development, which builds on the assets and skills of the local community and puts residents and communities centre stage.
The Clopton and Bishopton areas are among the most deprived communities in the county.
Rachel has already started listening to residents and discussing how they can work together to identify community solutions. She has been knocking on hundreds of doors in the area, distributing thousands of flyers, and creating an online survey to get as many views from local people as possible.
By engaging with local people and promoting the Ken Kennett Centre and Bishopton Community Centres as physical locations for residents to be together, Rachel aims to bring communities together and maximise the potential of the area.
The Community Builder project is jointly funded by SDC, Stratford Town Council, Stratford Town Trust, and Orbit Housing.
The project is further supported by the Town Trust, who will be making small grants available to support the set-up of new groups and enabling Rachel to run events and pay for room hire or equipment where necessary.
SDC’s health and wellbeing spokesperson Coun Jo Barker said: “It’s great to see this project up and running. Rachel’s work with residents will bring about positive changes and provide more opportunities in both communities.”
Rachel continued: “I’m really enjoying my role, listening to local people, and discussing how we can work together. I am learning so much about Bishopton and Clopton and look forward to involving other partners who can add value to our asset-based approach to minimise the impact of social exclusion. We want to evolve people’s hobbies and interests into community action which positively impacts on residents.”
Coun Tony Jefferson, Ward Member for Welcome Ward, which is part of Bishopton, said: “Rachel has made a great start listening to residents and beginning to identify what people like about their local area and what they’d like to improve. To respond to issues raised by the community she is fact finding and plans to involve residents in identifying a community solution.”
Anyone wanting to contact Rachel can email her at [email protected]