One of the many and great benefits of community enterprises is the wider impact that they have beyond their general activities and often on their local community. This also provides different opportunities for people to develop and use their skills and demonstrates that people are members and contributors to their community rather than ‘service-users’.
All of the above is central to Community Catalysts’ approach and so it has been great to see how all of the enterprises have had hugely positive impacts on the community in Rotherham.
Community Connect are a Community Interest Company that work with people with a learning disability and are based in Wath. Community Connect undoubtedly share the approach above and the clue is very much in their name. They connect with the community on a daily basis through their activities and they showed their community influence again during the recent floods in Rotherham. They run a massive range of activities that their members have chosen through their feedback and speak easy group.
Despite being a relatively new enterprise, they have become a central pillar of the Wath area through their community focus. Current projects include:-
- baking for and then running the coffee morning at the local community centre Montgomery Hall.
- being part of the Wath events team and becoming involved in and planning local projects and events such as turning on the Christmas lights and the gala day.
- linking in with other local groups and Rotherham Council to renovate a local piece of land, transforming it into a community garden for all to enjoy.
- running two local allotments and connecting with the allotment society.
- helping to renovate the green spaces around Montgomery Hall.
- connecting to a number of local groups – including sports clubs.
- And a future project – looking into the history of Wath and capturing local memories.
November 2019 saw devastating floods across the UK with Rotherham being one of the worst hit areas. In this adversity there were amazing examples of unity and community and Community Connect epitomised this spirit.
On one of the worst days, the area was very badly flooded with many people trapped. Community Connect and their members joined with other local groups such as the rugby club while the local Morrison’s supermarket offered meals and drinks to people. Community Connect opened its doors to the community, offered help to local residents and used their building as a base for Morrison’s food and drink so that anyone could drop in. Community Connects members did a fantastic job as they ran the refreshments, just as they do every week in the local community centre.
“We offered our assistance to the local community and asked if anyone needed our help. We didn’t think about it, we just got on and did it…that’s just what we do. We were very touched later when a local resident gave us some biscuits to thank us for what we’d done”
Gary – Director Community Connect
Following the floods, Gary explained how they often now bump into and talk to local residents that they helped and Community Connect have offered to help the local sports groups to help restore the land affected by the floods.
It is amazing to see how the community links together so well on a regular basis and even more so in difficult times where they can support each other through. Community Connects members continue to show just how integral they are to the area of Wath.
by Harry Clarkson
Community Catalyst (Rotherham)