LiveWest customers Katie Rakoczi and Leanne Robbins set up their local community group Many Hands within the newly developed neighbourhood of Lyde Green in Bristol, following ideas they had about how they could help other people within her neighbourhood who are feeling isolated. Through the organisation of events and activities, they have successfully engaged locals of all ages and the group now has 146 members and a large number of volunteers who help with organising projects throughout the year.
Katie Rakoczi, Lead Member of Many Hands said; ‘‘I realised after moving to Lyde Green that I wanted to make a real difference and wanted it to be a really welcoming place for everyone. Anyone should be able to come, sit, and have a cup of tea and a chat with their neighbour, which is why Leanne and I started up the Many Hands community group. Our aim was to reach out to those who might be feeling isolated. We noticed there were social groups for things like mums and babies but there was a gap around activities for anyone else. Our LiveWest Community Connector, Marie Burke has helped us with so much, she has been a sounding board for our ideas. We could not do it without her support.’’
Louise Thomson, Many Hands volunteer said: ‘’Through our community engagement events great things have developed like our Creating Happiness All Together (CHAT) sessions which came about following our work during Mental Health Awareness Week. Following the enthusiastic community response, CHAT is now a regular fortnightly event, where anyone can informally drop in for a cup of coffee and conversation. Essentially our overall aim for Many Hands is to reduce the issue of isolation and I think this is working as we have seen friendships emerge at our events and we have gained even more volunteers. I can see that the group has had a real positive impact within the community.’’
LiveWest Community Connector Marie Buke is thrilled with the results of Katie and Leanne’s hard work and their desire to learn more about community development and we have recently supported their development by funding bespoke Community Organising training, which results in receiving a certificate.
Marie Burke, LiveWest Community Connector said: ‘’The Many Hands group was the brainchild of our very own LiveWest customers and since it launched it has attracted volunteers from across the community. Along with the Lyde Green Community Association, Many Hands aims to make this a great place to live, to meet ever-changing needs they keep their activities free-flowing and varied. Through engaging with locals, they hear about their neighbours aspirations, wishes, and needs and use this information to develop further projects. The information gathered also helps the Lyde Green Community Association to provide services at the community centre.’’
Well done Katie and Leanne!
Find out how you can get involved in your local community here.