Day 1 – It’s Raining

After the rush of the school run and chasing the dog around the garden trying to rescue my only pair of posh shoes, I head down to the Children and Family centre. I’ve arranged to meet the Warwickshire County Council adult and family learning team. A poll earlier that month had suggested the community would like some arts and crafts courses and as the art workshop was coming to an end, we sat down to organise Christmas crafts and some children’s Christmas Workshops. We will run these at the Village Hall, and I make a note to WhatsApp the chair of the village hall to reserve the room.
2pm- Later that day I join the community development worker on Zoom to discuss the parent champion program they are rolling out, and the partnership we are forming that will emerge as, a formal group with a mission to bring more family led provision to the village.
5pm- Next, I head to the Village Hall, we are at the early stages of preparing to be a warm hub, we have the funding and are working to put the policies and procedures in place to make it warm, welcoming and safe.
6pm- finally I get to lay down on the job, the Pilates has been a great success since introducing it and it’s a great way to meet new and existing members of the community.
I breath in when I am supposed to be breathing out and I am convinced my stomach muscles have been replaced by a pancake! I think however being prepared to join in gives others confidence, as did the free taster day we ran in the summer.

Day 2 – Still Raining

My pancake hurts! Fortunately, I have a few Zoom meetings this morning to ease me into the day. I’m meeting with the newly appointed community creator from the new housing association. We talk about our joint vision for the community, and they agree to send me a funding form for our Christmas fair.
I also met with one of the marketing team on the new development. We discussed the half-term breakfast and using the “How to Build Houses” books that they donated to us a few weeks before. We also discussed how we can get the community newsletter to customers, and we agreed on an article for the November edition.
2 pm- Today I am also meeting with our local vicar; we meet monthly to discuss joint projects and today we will discuss a follow-up little pick in the village that enables children to engage in conversations about the environment.

Day 3 – More Rain!

Today I’m meeting a new parent champion, to show them around the children’s centre followed by a meeting with a local sports and fitness provider. Together we are applying for some charity funding that will bring seated exercise for older adults, and boot camp style fitness for teenagers to the village. Then well, I take the afternoon off.
So officially I work 3 days a week but the upside of this type of work is the flexibility it gives you, and the flexibility you need to give back in order to be in the right place at the right time. Often this means evening parish council meetings or Saturday training sessions such as safeguarding or first aid.
We have also held village meet and greets in the evening, and I am looking forward to the school movie night that will take place in December.

Day 4 – Torrential Rain!

Today I will attend the support partnership meeting, held in the village hall. The partnership was formed to support the growth of the village and we discuss issues that arise in the community because of the development. Our current focus is on working towards the NHS delivering a GP practice to the village and the developers are very keen to help us secure this.
Later I meet a new parent who has moved into the village and show them how to sign up for the children’s centre activities. I reflect on the importance of the little acts that a community champion can take and how every contact with a person is an opportunity to make a difference.
It’s raining very hard today and as I walk back into the village hall holding a “Paw Patrol Umbrella” over my head I feel accepted but slightly out of place amongst the planners, developers, and local authority.

Day 5 – Rain Is The New Norm!

I quite often have Fridays off but today I have been invited to a charity event hosted by one of the developers, where I will meet the chair of the district council and the technical director of the main developer. I’m not really sure what a technical director is but I think it’s probably best to go with the black umbrella today and hope no one notices the bite marks in my posh shoes.
The event is to raise awareness for Guide Dogs and it is a completely inspiring and humbling experience. We meet two volunteers for the Guide Dogs one of whom lost their sight 20 years before. We ate dinner blindfolded and its impact was obvious as we all struggled to eat, drink, and engage in conversation.
It takes a great deal of concentration to overcome losing a sense and it was a great privilege to speak with the volunteers about the experience. They later agreed to raise awareness at other events in the village including the village centre consultations.
I ask the photographer if he can photoshop the gravy off my top for the press release and step back into the rain brandishing a very grown-up umbrella! The sky seemed brighter now despite the rain and I think that sitting in the dark for so long gave me an ever better capacity to see the light where perhaps I hadn’t seen it before!
Community champion Emma Hills stood with children from the local community
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Residents are central to everything we do at Trustgreen. Over the years we’re proud to have hosted many wonderful community engagement projects which continue to have a long-lasting impact on the people who live within those communities.

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