Community Champions building strong connections in the Esk Valley

Community Champions building strong connections in the Esk Valley

We know that being part of a community has so many benefits. Our 10 communities and services provide a sense of belonging, but we appreciate that we cannot work in isolation. Botton Village, in North Yorkshire, has started a new project teaming up with the organisation, Community Catalysts, to help us reach out to the wider community.

Enlisting local experts

To lead on the project a Community Connector was recruited, and over 20 people from Botton Village and the local area have volunteered as Community Champions. The first aim for the Community Champions was to make meaningful connections in the surrounding areas. The second is to share our resources to benefit local people and address local issues.

Exploration

The team developed a survey which has been completed by 166 people from across 16 villages in the North York Moors. Alan, a Community Champion, told us; ‘I really liked going out to speak to people about Botton Village.’ The surveys highlighted some key issues such as a lack of local activities, loneliness and isolation and issues of accessibility due to transport.
The group then analysed the research and started generating ideas in response.

We’re proud of what we’ve achieved already

Our Community Champions are even gaining academic recognition. Prior Pursglove College is accrediting the Champions’ work with an Entry Level 1 Certificate – ‘Living in the Community’. Martin, from Botton Village, told us; ‘I like doing the qualification and going to the college in Guisborough.’

The hard work is paying off – we’ve seen new people coming to buy produce and look around, and bigger groups such as the Women’s Institute are booking group day trips. Reverend Sally Wilson, a Community Champion from the local area said: ‘It’s so good meeting other people and being part of something very exciting!’

What do we hope to achieve?

The Champions already have lots of ideas, such as setting up a befriending service to help combat loneliness in the local area.

We will maintain and continue to build on the fantastic strategic partnerships already established, such as with the North York Moors National Park Authority, Stronger Communities, the Moorsbus, local clergy and Esk Moors Caring. The Community Connector is looking for more opportunities to work collaboratively to tackle local issues.