chesterfield volunteers

Community Chesterfield reflects on voluntary sector impact

A partnership project between the University of Derby and Derbyshire Voluntary Action (DVA) is reflecting on the impact it has made within the health and social care sector after creating almost 4,000 ‘meaningful connections’ across Chesterfield.

Community Chesterfield, which is nearing the end of its third year, links up the skills, knowledge and experience at the University of Derby with those of the voluntary and community sector (VCS) and has been a vital support network in the area since its launch in 2019.

The ‘meaningful connections’ between VCS organisations and the University is where the activity organised brings benefits to both. They have included Expert by Experience sessions, which have seen the project connect individuals from voluntary and community sector groups with university staff and students to share their lived experience.

Around 2250 students from the University of Derby have met 57 Experts by Experience, covering topics including family carers, medication management, mental health issues and hearing and sight loss.

Over the last three years, Community Chesterfield has also helped to successfully increase funding for local VCS groups by more than £110,000 as a result of the skills and knowledge they have gained through their involvement with the project.

The project’s online training model also continued to thrive, having delivered more than one thousand training hours in the last 12 months alone and 2271 hours in total since the start of the project. The sessions have been attended by more than 140 local health and social care sector organisations.

After assessing the need based on conversations and feedback from groups, Community Chesterfield also added in a provision for e-learning courses, as well as the project’s popular Training and Tea model – a series of 45-minute sessions at a regular day and time slot.

In addition to the popular training sessions, more than 570 participants attended shared learning workshops. These workshops, which include the Connect and Reflect sessions, aim to connect the community, the health and social care sector and the University to allow them to discuss, learn from and reflect on the common experiences we each have.

Jennifer Raschbauer, Community Chesterfield’s project manager, said: “The aim of our project has always been to bring together the University of Derby with the local community to create a resourceful, experienced and knowledgeable health and social care sector in Chesterfield.

“Despite having to negotiate through the ever-changing landscape because of the pandemic, we are extremely proud what we have achieved in the last three years and the visible positive impact with have had on the local VCS sector.

“By providing these valuable opportunities for the VCS and university to come together, we have been able to strengthen the skills of the local workforce in this sector, enabling them to be more resilient in the future and to provide the best possible support to their service users.

“As we look to the future of the Community Chesterfield project, we are excited to both cement and increase the connections we have made in the local community. We have plans to widen the reach of the work we do, which is an exciting prospect and will allow us to create more opportunities for more people across Chesterfield.”

Community Chesterfield has also facilitated 63 students to provide support to a variety of local VCS groups and supported more than 60 students on their negotiated module, where they can select a subject area of interest to them that’s not covered in the curriculum and which introduced them to a number of local charities and voluntary groups.

In addition, the project has organised five internships and 15 work placements and skills days, as well enabling the creation of one academic publication.

For more information about Community Chesterfield visit www.communitychesterfield.org.uk.

Community Chesterfield supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

Posted in About Chesterfield, Business, Celebrate Chesterfield, Development, Home, Leisure, Love Chesterfield, UncategorisedTagged in , , , , , , ,

Junction Arts appeals for volunteers to get involved in community events

Junction Arts is looking for Chesterfield residents to help with a number of community projects and events, which help bring people together across the town.

The local Charity which helps to celebrate our community through the arts and other creative projects, is looking for people to help with initiatives ranging from supporting family art workshops, visitor support at festivals and parades, and assisting project coordinators in the set up of these vital projects.

Junction Arts says no previous experience is needed, just a willingness to get involved and have some fun. The charity has a number of events lined up throughout 2022, with voluntary roles available in February and March. Opportunities include behind the scenes event prep and site specific live art events.

Upcoming events include the Love Bolsover event in Bolsover Town Centre on Saturday, 26th February and the Bolsover Artisan and Craft Market on Saturday 19th March.

Katie Petraitis originally started with Junction Arts as a volunteer and is now the lead artist at the Bolsover Lantern Parade. She commented: “I’ve been volunteering for Junction Arts for over 10 years, and it is always a fun, varied and worthwhile experience. I volunteer because I believe that having access to creative experiences is important for everybody.

“Creative activities allow people a space to pause, think, reflect and express themselves, and the better supported these activities are, the more enjoyable and fulfilling they are for the participants.

“Junction Arts provide workshops and activities which are accessible in a way which gallery-based or city-based experiences might not be, and encourage shared creative experiences in a friendly and supportive atmosphere.

“No creative experience happens without people supporting it, and through volunteering for Junction Arts I’ve met some amazing people and learnt lots of brilliant new skills.”

All volunteers are given a free Junction Arts T-shirt and have their travel expenses to the project or event covered. Anyone interested in volunteering for the charity is invited to contact the team by emailing hannah@junctionarts.org.

Junction Arts supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

 

Posted in Home, Leisure, Love Chesterfield, Uncategorised, VisitingTagged in , , , , ,

Dozens help with Chesterfield Canal clean ups

Fifteen volunteers helped to tidy-up one of Chesterfield’s best outdoor spaces last month, with Chesterfield Litter Picking Group and Chesterfield Canal Trust working together to get rid of litter and debris along the canal.

The team got together for the effort on Saturday 24th April, including several canoeists and paddleboarders, who did a superb job clearing the towpath and the canal above Tapton Lock in Chesterfield in the morning. They even removed debris that had got stuck on tree branches in floods.

They saw lots of newly hatched ducklings and even a newt that was found under an old mattress along the bank.

The volunteers also intend to make contact with the companies backing onto the water to encourage them to refrain from dumping their rubbish onto the banks.

In the afternoon, a second group totalling 35 people of all ages, tackled the currently unrestored section of the canal in Renishaw. They cleared a huge amount of rubbish, mostly drinks bottles and cans, but also a tyre, a roadsign, a fire extinguisher and a garden seat. A large elm tree that had collapsed into the canal was cut up and cleared.

This group also cleared vegetation along half a mile of towpath stretching from Main Road Bridge right back to Hague Lane. This is usually impassable in the summer because it gets smothered in brambles, but it is more pleasant for walkers than the adjacent the Trans-Pennine Trail.

This clear-up will be repeated on the last Saturday afternoon of every month. The Chesterfield Canal Trust is keen to set up a group of local volunteers in Renishaw who will eventually manage their section of the canal and look after the adjacent woodland and fishing pond.

In the autumn, the Trust is set to start a major project at Renishaw, making good a previous restoration attempt and extending it to a total of 1,000 metres. This will eventually link up to the Doe Lea Valley restoration section for which the Trust has recently received planning permission.

When all these works are finished, probably sometime in 2024, it will extend the restored canal in Derbyshire from 5 miles to 7½ miles. The highlight will be a 37 metre long aqueduct, nearly 10 metres above the River Doe Lea.

Besides providing a wonderful towpath for walkers, cyclists and mobility scooter users, it will give new fishing grounds. Opportunities for the hire of boats, canoes, paddleboards and cycles will be created. There will be a need for refreshments and it will attract people to the area, thereby benefitting local businesses.

Kath Auton, the Trust’s Membership Secretary, said: “Today has been wonderful. We have met so many local people who are keen to help get the canal restored and back in water. It will be a real asset to Renishaw. I can’t wait for the next clear-up on May 29th.”

Chesterfield Canal Trust supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

Posted in Featured, Home, Leisure, Uncategorised, VisitingTagged in , , , ,

Derbyshire Voluntary Action welcomes new recruit to help Chesterfield residents feel more connected

Debbie Fennell has joined Derbyshire Voluntary Action in the newly-created role of ‘Social Connectedness Development Worker.’

Derbyshire Voluntary Action is a membership organisation for North Derbyshire’s health and wellbeing related voluntary and community sector. North Derbyshire spans the districts of High Peak, Derbyshire Dales, Chesterfield, North East Derbyshire and Bolsover.

Through specialist infrastructure services, the organisation actively engages with and support 320+ members, which range from tiny volunteer-led self-help groups through to local and regional charities delivering projects to the benefit of large numbers of Derbyshire residents.

Debbie joins the DVA team to play a key role in the ‘Feeling Connected in North East Derbyshire and Chesterfield’ project – an initiative to improve local approaches to tackling social isolation and reducing the impact of loneliness.

Debbie, who describes herself as a ‘people person,’ has nine years’ experience of working in the voluntary and community sector, most recently as a Project Coordinator at Age Concern Chesterfield and District, where she was responsible for the ‘Active Age’ project.

In her new role, she will work out and about in communities across Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire, supporting residents and communities to create and take up opportunities to be better socially connected.

Debbie says, ‘My role is about building relationships with people who want to make a difference in their street, estate, village, town or workplace – and to be responsive in helping them in whatever way they need. It’s a challenging time to be starting a job like this, but even in lockdown there are many ways we can all keep our spirits up and continue to connect with family, friends and the people who live around us.’

If you have ideas about keeping your community connected this winter, Debbie would love to hear from you. Call her on 07547 342251, email debbie@dva.org.uk or find her on Facebook: FeelingConnectedNEDC.

Derbyshire Voluntary Action supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

 

Posted in About Chesterfield, Business, Destination Chesterfield, Development, UncategorisedTagged in , , , ,

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