Central to the Wellbeing Exeter model is the parallel development of community resilience within the city, alongside the social prescribing work. We have recruited a team of Community Builders, managed and mentored by Exeter Community Initiatives, who are active throughout the community. The builders take an Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) approach, using local strengths, organisations and passions as a starting point for enabling greater connection, activity, and collective support. The aim of their role is:
- To build confident, more connected communities.
- To identify and map community assets and resources.
- To encourage and support individuals and build community resilience through spending plenty of time on the ground, out and about in ‘their’ neighbourhood.
- Learning about and mapping existing community ‘assets’ – buildings, events, groups and organisations, and active individuals.
- Listening to local people describing their experience of the community, what they see as its strengths, and what could be improved, to build up a picture of how each neighbourhood works, and how it differs from others.
- Improving links between formal service provision, the connectors, and community activity.
- Enabling increased community activity.
We currently have Community Builders in the following areas of the City:
- St Thomas
- Newtown & St Leonards
- Countess Wear
- St David’s East
- Wonford (Priory)
- St Loyes
- Duryard & St James
- Mincinglake & Whipton
Community Builders have started by mapping the areas and then beginning the process of listening to residents within the areas.
At this stage there are signs of positive connections being made between residents, between groups operating in areas and new activities emerging. The following examples give a flavour of what is emerging:
- A link being made by a Community Builder between a teacher and parents interested in starting a running group and Active Devon who are now supporting this to happen.
- A link made between a coffee club for the elderly and a school working with a local organisation on a food project. Apart from the children cooking a lunch for the coffee club in the longer term food will be grown in new beds in a communal green area and knowledge shared between the older people and children.
- A link made between a resident planning to start a Memory Café and Age UK and with their Local Ward Councillor who can provide a ward grant to get them started.
If you would like to find out more about this area of the project then please contact us on www.communitybuilders.eci.org.uk