I’m working across Warwickshire to help community businesses become more sustainable. It’s inspiring to meet so many individuals who want to help their communities with hard work and dedication – from local libraries, to community centres to church cafes. One really exciting aspect of working with community businesses is that they are so adaptable and flexible that they can meet the very specific needs of local people.
I’ve just run a coproduction workshop with local disabled people who use Direct Payments and local businesses, to co-design the specific services that local people want to spend their Direct Payments on.
We held the first one at a lovely local community centre, full of papier-mâché creations, which supplied us with a mountain of delicious cakes for our event. We were joined by Clenton Farquharson from Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) to help introduce the session, explain the principles behind coproduction and get everyone geed up.
Coproduction is about working together and learning together. Clenton Farquharson, TLAP
We got down to a bit of philosophy and asked people to answer the questions “what makes a good life for you?” There were all sorts of answers, from wheelchair dancing, cake baking, dog walking, watching and taking part in sports.
Some of the community businesses were able to offer to set up some of those services there and then, and others came away with some new ideas.
I came here today to see if I could make any new connections and learn things from others doing the same thing, but really, meeting the people who use the services has been much more useful than any of that. Community Business Manager
I’m looking forward to our next Community Business event which I hope will prove to be just as inspiring and productive.
Warwickshire Community Business Coordinator