Through the Healthy Communities Together programme, which was developed in partnership between The National Lottery Community Fund and The King’s Fund, One Croydon was awarded £500,000 over 4 years to support local partnership working to improve the health and wellbeing of Croydon’s local communities.
With this support, the creation of One Croydon’s alliance of Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisations, active citizens, Croydon Council and Health is building stronger communities by supporting local residents to have an active role in their neighbourhood. By building upon the great work done by Croydon’s VCS groups and by harnessing their range of skills, knowledge and local expertise, communities in Croydon are being empowered to develop better solutions in their local area.
Six Local Community Partnerships (LCPs) have been implemented covering the whole of Croydon. Chairs from the local community are coming into post in each of these LCPs, bringing greater local ownership, collective voice and leadership.
The programme of LCP events gives the opportunity for local residents, community groups, local charities and health and social care teams to collaboratively develop community action plans. These events take place in each LCP in accessible venues hosted by VCS organisations. The open forums create an inclusive space to develop community connections, share knowledge, identify key themes to focus on in the locality and tackle them together. Recognising residents as assets with rich, local knowledge, key skills and inspirational creativity, they are invited to attend the locality-based meetings to create practical action plans designed to meet key outcomes identified by the group.
Sarah Burns, Director of Communities for Croydon Voluntary Action (CVA) shares how Croydon’s Community Partnerships are supporting residents.
Celestina Oniye-Thomas, Lead Psychotherapist of Floating Counselling attended the latest Local Community Partnership meeting in the Croydon Central East locality to share how her organisation is being strengthened to support Black African and Asian families through community partnerships. Attendance at locality meetings has enabled Celestina to share the common needs of her client group and work with others to holistically meet them. In this video, Celestina highlights how her community-led service has extended their provision beyond mental health support to meet the everyday, practical needs of residents.
The LCPs are in the process of setting up Community Hubs, which will be located in existing VCS venues that are known and accessible to local residents. The hubs will foster a commitment to interdependence and mutual support in Croydon’s communities. When residents would like to achieve a particular outcome, local assets, opportunities and sources of support are used as soon as possible and this early intervention prevents them from going into crisis.
Our three Community Facilitators, hosted by Asian Resource Centre Croydon and Croydon Voluntary Action play a key role in the LCPs. They use their knowledge of VCS organisations who might be able to support residents, to complement the statutory intervention, as well as supporting the Partnership meetings.
This major programme of transformational change is still in its early stages and there is much work to do, but the preventative, strengths-based and outcome-focussed approach is helping to create safer, healthier and happier lives for the residents of Croydon.