What is a Community Connector?
A key part of the Community Connector role is relationship building and maintenance with local Community groups and organisations along with statutory services also working with the North Kensington community. This will include developing co-produced projects around mental health and wellbeing in partnership with multi-disciplinary colleagues, residents and 3rd sector organisations.
- Increase local voice, empowerment and ownership of the mental health offer provided by GHWS
- Be an advocate for wellbeing, contributing to the de-stigmatisation of mental health and strengthening the positivity of the client’s experience using a community framework
- Work on the issues that are raised by the community, and
- Base the response on solution-based collaboration principles
What does this look like in practice?
In the last few years we have done many pieces of collaborative work with organisations and groups in the community and hiring more staff dedicated to collaboration and co-production principles means that we can increase both the number and range of those pieces of work.
We have always had an Outreach Team whose role it has been to support people in a more holistic way and who have been based in various spaces within North Kensington. They have been available for holding drop-ins, having informal chats about wellbeing and could refer into the service if appropriate or signpost to other local organisations. They also have supported many Community events over the years and the new connectors will also be available to do these. At the same time, they will also be thinking of new and innovative ways of connecting with people to ensure the service is accessible to all.
We have found that whilst sign posting can be helpful to people, it doesn’t always mean that people contact those services- they may need more of a ‘warm’ handover i.e. a connector who attends the first session of a wellbeing group with them or contacts the organisation to introduce the client etc.
They will also be developing wellbeing interventions with colleagues in our multi-disciplinary team that meet the Communities’ needs and are culturally appropriate, along with coming up with ideas and plans that can improve both accessibility and the client journey. These could take the form of engagement events, gardening or walking groups focusing on emotional wellbeing, attending already established networks/meetings to talk about the service, working with a clinician to think about how their client can link into other provisions in the community such as peer support groups, art projects, food banks, benefits advice, volunteering opportunities and employment support.
The role is not meant to duplicate other roles in the community such as the Community Champions or Social Prescribers- they are meant to compliment those roles and work closely with them to provide a more joined up approach to wellbeing and ensure that people who have reached out for wellbeing support have a more streamlined transition into appropriate services- whether that means us or other services in the community.
Examples so far in the Grenfell Service
In the short time they have been part of our service, they have been part of the team developing artistic wellbeing projects for the Anniversary- one of which was the Green Snap project.
They have also been part of part of a wellbeing walk that was developed in collaboration with the Volunteer Centre.