Community Connectors' Forum
Know your Patch Network
Supporting Strong and Thriving Communities with Know Your Patch
Know Your Patch part of the Community Connectors Forum (CCF) connects the Voluntary and Community Sector, Statutory Services and local residents in a way which creates better ways of working.
The CCF/KYPN is provides the opportunity for community organisations and groups to link together and work collaboratively for the benefit of those they serve - whether they are voluntary or statutory. It meets fortnightly on a 6-week cycle - sharing updates and key information, as well as discussing pertinent topics.
The Community Connectors’ Forum has been established for over years. In its infancy it met four times a year but after securing a stream of funding from Macmillan Cancer Support – who recognised the value of the opportunity for organisations to meet and network on a regular basis – it was re-established at the beginning of 2020.
The new group was due to have its first quarterly meeting just as the pandemic struck, in March 2020, and so the decision was taken to move it online and meet, at that time, weekly, in response to the need that had arisen. A few months into the Pandemic in 2020, the CCF was amalgamated with the “Know Your Patch” Network that FVAF facilitates with funding from Gloucestershire County Council.
It quickly became a vital tool used by many groups and organisations - both statutory and voluntary - as they grappled with the task they were given and the response that was needed to support the community in the Forest of Dean. We set up a Community Website that provided an online space where information could be easily shared and accessed – by members and the wider public. This was an unbelievably valuable tool at the height of the pandemic.
As the severity of the situation eased, we settled into a rhythm of fortnightly meetings – which have continued. The meetings are run in a cycle of three over six weeks. Two meetings are a short form of one hour, at which members break out into smaller groups to discuss specific topics, after hearing urgent updates of projects and information to be shared; the third meeting in the cycle is a two-hour meeting, at which members have the opportunity to deliver a brief overview of what their organisation does as well as providing more in-depth updates of current projects.
Members can send material they want to be shared with the group, to the facilitator. Together with meeting notes and any other relevant information (eg regarding new funding streams) it is cascaded on a regular basis.
The success of the Forum and its setup has meant that we have welcomed several people from organisations in different parts of the country to see how the format works, with a view to replicating it and adapting it to their needs.
The Forum has over 125 Members – and this number is continuing to increase on a regular basis. On average, we welcome two new members to the meetings each fortnight. We also keep a database of Friends (currently 85) – organisations and groups who have not been able to attend meetings but are appreciative of the information that is shared and the initiatives that have emerged from the Forum.
We are always keen to welcome new members as it helps reinvigorate the group and offers the chance for participants to forge new partnerships and successful collaborations. If you would like further information joining the CCF/KYPN or would like to come along and see if it could be of help to the organisation or group you represent, please contact Teresa Rose, CCF Facilitator – email@example.com using the Reference CCF FORUM.
The Forest of Dean Know Your Patch Network is designed to connect the Voluntary and Community Sector, Statutory Services and local residents in a way which creates better ways of working which ultimately strengthens our communities. This 'community offer' is particularly vital in preventing or delaying the escalation of health needs.
We host quarterly events throughout the Forest of Dean where we invite stakeholders to join the discussion around what matters in their community and how services and voluntary sector groups can help support this. Every Know Your Patch event is FREE and open to anyone that wants to be part of the conversation. If you'd like to attend please call on 01594 822073 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also send regular e-mails and updates to our Know Your Patch Network regarding what's going on in the Forest of Dean. If you would like to join this network, please subscribe here.
Here is some of the research which underlines our thinking:
"We all have a role to play in helping individuals and communities to develop social capital. There is growing recognition that although disadvantaged social groups and communities have a range of complex and inter-related needs, they also have assets at the social and community level that can help improve health, and strengthen resilience to health problems" (The Kings Fund, 2018)
"Those with adequate social relationships had a 50 per cent greater survival rate compared with individuals with poor social relationships" (Holt-Lunstad et al 2010)
"Social networks have been shown to be as powerful predictors of mortality as common lifestyle and clinical risks such as moderate smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity and high cholesterol and blood pressure" (Pantell et al 2013; Holt-Lunstad et al, 2010).
"Social support is particularly important in increasing resilience and promoting recovery from illness" (Pevalin and Rose, 2003)
"Lack of social networks and support makes it harder to self-regulate behaviour and build willpower and resilience over time, leading to engagement in unhealthy behaviours" (Cacioppo and Patrick 2009).
"Community Participation reduces isolation, exclusion and loneliness" (Farrell and Bryant 2009; Sevigny et al 2010; Ryan-Collins et al 2008)
"Strong social capital improves the chances of avoiding lifestyle risks such as smoking" (Folland 2008; Brown et al, 2006)