Following realignment in April 2012, Communities First is a Community Focussed Programme that supports the Welsh Government’s Tackling Poverty agenda.
The programme builds on the achievements of Communities First since its launch in 2001 and preserves the best of the current programme. It supports the most disadvantaged people in our most deprived areas with the aim of contributing to alleviating persistent poverty.
Communities First Delivery Teams funded by the Welsh Government will work with residents, community organisations, business and other key agencies in these areas, called Clusters, and will focus on actions leading to the long term sustainability and wellbeing of communities. Involving local people in all aspects of this work is an essential feature of the programme.
The Programme has three strategic objectives helping to achieve these outcomes:
• Prosperous Communities
• Learning Communities
• Healthier Communities
Tackling Poverty Action Plan
The Tackling Poverty Action Plan sets out what the Welsh Government are doing to build resilient communities and to help prevent and reduce poverty in Wales under its three main objectives:
• Prosperous communities
• Learning communities
• Healthier communities
Healthier communities will support projects such as Come Outside, the Over 50’s Health Checks, the Community Food Cooperative Programme and Street Games.
Communities First Evaluation Report
The Department for Local Government and Communities of the Welsh Government commissioned an Outcome and a Process Evaluation of the Communities First programme during 2010. A combined final report has been produced.
The aim of the Outcome Evaluation was to provide evidence on the extent to which the fundamental outcome objectives have been achieved by the programme.
The aim of the Process Evaluation was to examine the suitability of the design, implementation and funding of the 2009-2012 phase of the programme in enabling its aims and objectives to be met.
The report can be accessed via the following link: http://wales.gov.uk/about/aboutresearch/social/latestresearch/communities/?lang=en.
At the 2009 Communities First Conference the Networks held a workshop entitled “Sharing to Succeed: Public Health Networks, Community Health Initiatives and Good Practice”.
Community Fit Club
Through community consultation and the recent media regarding the high levels of Obesity in Wrexham, it was felt that Caia Park would benefit from a local Community Fit Club. Although there are other organisations that run on the outskirts of Caia it was felt that these proved to be quite expensive.
Caia Park Communities First has been running a Community Fit Club since June 2011. The Fit Club is a 12 week weight management programme that has been designed to deliver in places such as community centres and leisure centres. The programme is low cost and provides not only the weighing element but also two activities per week.
Caia Park Communities First work in partnership with Wrexham County Borough Council and attend the Queensway Sports Stadium on a Monday and Wednesday morning. The group is made up of 9 ladies in total and after the first 12 week spell the total weight lost was 1stone.
The next 12 week sessions are starting with the introduction of different activities and hope for the same success.
Come Dine With Us
EVAD youth team have been working alongside the three communities First partnerships in the Ebbw Fawr valley organising 6 intergenerational events to stimulate contact across generations to benefit all participants in the wider community.
There have been 5 “Come Dine With Us” events:
• 2 in Ebbw Vale North & South Communities First
• 2 in Cwm, waunlwyd & Victoria Communities First
• 1 in Garnlydan & Rassau Communities First
The young people were also able to access training as part of the project; 18 young people learnt basic cookery skills and 15 young people were awarded a Food Hygiene Certificate. 6 young people from each area cooked a meal for their guests which included breakfast club, afternoon teas or dinner. The young people cooked for 20 older adults at each session and the young people had the chance to talk to their guests and reminisce on what it was like in their days which enabled the young people to learn from their experience.
Each event became a great success, breaking down barriers and misconceptions between older adults and young people; they were thanked with letters and cards showing their appreciation to the young people.
The final event culminated in one large valley-wide event with all participants invited including Blaenau Gwent’s Mayor Mike Bartlet and granddaughter Sheridan who is Mayoress. The event consisted of a 3 course meal and 1940’s entertainment and was a great success. 2 of the groups have suggested that they would like to give back and cook for the young people that delivered on this project.
The biggest impact of this project has been the breaking down of barriers between generations and the misconceptions of young people, which has lead to the group wanting to make it an annual event.
Overall this project has been very successful and the young people have been highly praised for their achievements.
To see more follow this link: http://vimeo.com/24829114.
Feel Good Factory Award
Bryncynon Strategy has been awarded £25,000 in recognition of their outstanding work to improve health in deprived communities in the Cynon Valley.
Bryncynon Strategy beat more than 400 organisations from around the UK to become one of 10 winners of this year’s Glaxo Smith Kline IMPACT Awards, run in partnership with health think-tank the King’s Fund.
The Feel Good Factory was praised for the strength of its innovative and creative ways of improving public health in the community. Reaching around 5,000 households a year, 70% of the community access services, including exercise classes, smoking cessation counselling, healthy eating advice and oral hygiene. They encourage healthy eating by growing fresh food and selling it directly to housebound people and we provide a casework service that helps tackle homelessness and improve access to health-care services.
The awards – Glaxo Smith Kline’s flagship UK corporate social responsibility programme – highlight the crucial role played by the voluntary sector in meeting health needs among deprived and vulnerable communities.
Food, fun and health
The Centre for Widening Participation and Social Inclusion, Aberystwyth University has been working with young people from the Penparcau & West Aberystwyth, and the Tregaron & the Uplands Communities First areas to provide a fun and practical short course exploring attitudes to food, cooking, eating, health and employment. This was devised and delivered by University staff, but in partnership with the Communities First youth workers and Ceredigion Youth Service (Prevention team), with young women at risk of exclusion, becoming Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET), etc. Sixteen young women (12 – 15 years) took part.
The sessions included discussions on eating habits (what, where, how, when); different food groups; alternative ways of preparing and cooking food as a healthier option; emphasis on balance rather than calories / dieting.
Each week the sessions culminated in “sitting at table and sharing food time”.
Each participant had a bound record of the course, with recipes and food group information, together with a Certificate of Attendance and Achievement.