At Leeds Beckett University we undertook a piece of work called Space to Connect which was funded by the department for Digital Culture Media and Sport and the CooP Foundation.
The programme was meant to look at how community anchor organisations could develop physical spaces to improve sustainability and services.
We had just started work when the Pandemic hit!
So instead we worked with these organisations looking at what they did during the pandemic to respond to the needs of isolated and vulnerable people in their communities. Many of us saw how community anchors pivoted and were among the first organisations to respond to need.
At the time there was a lot of hopeful talk about how this experience would represent a shift (some say a ‘left shift’) in how the local voluntary sector was perceived, funded and collaborated with by the NHS in particular. I think it is fair to say that there is still some way to go!
One of the products we produced was a discussion tool that can be used in a meeting or a workshop to begin an action focussed conversation within NHS organisations or an ICS about Community Anchor Organisations. The idea being that just having a conversation in a meeting would represent a useful step forward.
There is a blog on the Leeds Beckett website about this – which you can access here
If you would like to look at the discussion tool the link is here – ignore the first page – it is just the standard format used by Leeds Beckett when reports are stored on the website – it is much more attractive than that!
Finally, what was really important was our joint work with Locality which is the national organisation representing Community Anchors. The link to the Locality website is here
Do feel free to get in touch if you would like to know more.