Accessing the expertise of a network of organisations across the UK, as well as network of trained Village SOS Mentors these projects are the first to engage with the Village SOS campaign and hopefully will act as inspiration to get more involved.
A community radio station, a small friendship circle/lunch club that provide a vital social facility for isolated residents, a large scale multi functioning community centre which offer a full range of services under one roof, and a heritage project which looks to create new employment locally are amongst the first projects receiving support. Any project in a rural community of fewer than 10,000 residents, that provides a service could be eligible for support and they are being encouraged to get in touch to find out more.
Melanie Chew of Community Action Suffolk said: “It’s been a good start nationally and it is great to hear about such a wide variety of projects are getting involved with the campaign – I’m certain that projects in Suffolk will benefit from learning from their experiences. Projects can receive support from us now to help them develop and progress their own plan of support, setting out the next steps to help them to become more sustainable. It’s about planning for the future and helping projects to consider what next? Please sign up for support and we’ll look forward to working with you.”
One of the resources available to help projects to flourish is access to the Village SOS Mentors, a team of volunteers who have been trained to work with projects receiving support from Village SOS.
Ivan Annibal, Rose Regeneration who leads on the Mentor training, said: “These individuals will work with the local organisation supporting a project and are a network of experts who are able to share their knowledge and expertise for FREE as part of any Village SOS support plan. They are volunteers who have a range of experience from having been involved with their own community project, or those who have run their own business, or are academics, or accredited social enterprise experts.”
Village SOS has already trained close to a 100 mentors and are now looking for more volunteers who can help communities in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales wanting to start-up their own enterprises or reinvigorate services locally. If you have a story to share – including setbacks, successes and celebrations – that could inspire and guide others then please get in touch.
To sign up for support, or to find out more about becoming a mentor, please visit www.villagesos.org.uk or call Chris Cowcher on 01285 653477.