Neal Williams from First Steps project REACH CIC tells us all about what’s been achieved so far and what the plans are from here.
We are REACH CIC and we’re here to rock Wembley. Or, more accurately, we work in community development… yeah, it’s community development. We are based in the Winyates area of Redditch, defined locally as an ‘area of highest need’ meaning it’s in the lowest 10% of deprived communities in England and Wales, accordingly a community project was set up to try and address some of the issues.
getting involved in first steps
After the projects funding came to an end REACH CIC was formed to continue work in the area. We joined First Steps to explore whatever help was available and to potentially network with other organisations.
So what are we actually going to do I hear you ask, that’s a good question! Bear with me and all shall be revealed. So as I said, one of the reasons for joining First Steps was to see what help was available, turns out there’s quite a bit!
working in consultation
Working with our relationship manager, a lovely lady by the name of Cerys, it was decided that First Steps would help with funding requests as well as providing tools and techniques to add to our ‘toolkit’ and offering input on any consultation materials. This last one is key, in combination with what we learned on the two training courses that we have attended (‘working together’ and ‘listening to your community’, see where this is going?) we have started to consult with the community. By the end of February we will have a community plan in place and then we can begin to address the issues that matter most to the community, or as it is also known the interesting work. To be honest it’s going quite well, we’ve had a larger response than was expected from all sorts of community members. As KFC would put it, we tick all the boxes. That is to say, we’ve heard back from a wide range of demographics.
It’s not all plain sailing though, we can write a consultation and people can answer but given the time of the year, school holidays and all, it turns out that it can be quite difficult to reach the people that you want to consult with. People go on holiday, venues that would be used for consultations are inexplicably unavailable and complications abound, however the normal service that is life shall soon continue and we can begin to extend our reach. I’ve only been doing this for about a month but I’m interested to see where this goes. It’s nice to be able to take pride in what you’re doing, to say I’m giving something back and I hope this work makes a difference as it continues.