Moving forward when the world is standing still

12 October 2020 · Categories: Communities Care, Events

Working innovatively during a pandemic

Back at the start of 2020 Community Catalysts Rochdale planned a market place event to showcase the fantastic offers from local community enterprises who had completed our ‘Doing it Right’ development programme.  Covid-19 had other ideas though and the small issue of a global pandemic meant we had to put our plans on hold.

Despite the pandemic gathering pace, more local people began to approach us for help in developing their ideas to support older people and adults with a learning disability.  As these new community enterprises completed our development programme and got ready to launch, we needed a way to share the amazing new choices emerging across the Borough.

We decided to host a virtual market place using Zoom to connect key stakeholders with some of the enterprise leaders and hear about their offers.

The event took place on 30th September and each enterprise leader was given the opportunity to talk about what they offer and the difference that their enterprise makes in helping people to live a good life.  Each presentation was followed by a question and answer session.

Meet the community enterprises

First up was Tasneem with Social Connections, offering support to older people and those with a long-term health condition to get out and do what makes them happy. For some, that might be a trip to the shop, for others it might be a meal out or a visit to the cinema (bearing in mind Covid!).  With bags of experience and enthusiasm Tasneem was able to progress from her initial idea to launching in just a couple of months to offer this fantastic support.

Next was Tracey Kitchen, bringing meals to the homes of older people.  Tracey has spent time using coproduction techniques to ensure she offers nutritional and tasty meals of the right size for older people.  These meals are delivered to people’s homes each week and Tracey offers that personal touch too – a chat and a catch up.

Daisy from Maverick Lab shared their plans to offer free training to young adults with autism to help them build their confidence and develop social communication skills for the workplace and business.

Shabby Sleek were up next with a great presentation from Jimmy.  Shabby Sleek run small group sessions Monday to Friday in their workshop at Bowlee Pavilion in Middleton. The sessions are run by a group of volunteers for older people, those with a long-term health condition and adults with a learning disability.  The sessions are currently paused due to Covid but Jimmy is working on plans to get things up and running again as soon as restrictions allow.

Debbie and Lou from Your Home Yoga, talked about how they took the plunge during lockdown to move their weekly classes online and join together as a CIC.  They have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback from older people and those with long-term health conditions who are finding the online sessions more accessible and appropriate for their needs.

The event came to a close with a wonderful performance from Kelly, the face of Bring Me Sunshine.  Kelly has worked with Community Catalysts Rochdale during the pandemic to diversify her offer.  Before lockdown, Kelly would visit care homes and sing to residents but due to social distancing restrictions had to stop.  Now with support from Community Catalysts, Bring Me Sunshine has moved online and instead offers weekly sing along sessions which promote movement and health and wellbeing to older people, in particular those with dementia.

The meeting today was so brilliant. I was amazed at all the fantastic groups that have been set up

Event attendee

The event was a huge hit with all who attended and enabled people to find out more about the community enterprises and see and hear first-hand how fabulous they are.  Some of the entrepreneurs have already linked up with stakeholders and new relationships have been forged.

Watch this space for similar events coming soon or contact Karen Williams, Rochdale Community Enterprise Catalyst, to find out more…

The market place event this morning was excellent – many thanks for inviting me!

Event attendee


Great assets/ strengths in the community. Thanks for this today. It was brilliant.

Event attendee

By Karen Williams – Community Enterprise Catalyst (Rochdale)


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