Three new job positions have been created to deliver phase two of Our Place Our Future (OPOF), a programme being managed by CVS Inverclyde that will encourage people living in Greenock East and Central to create positive changes within their own community.
Thanks to £121,824 funding from the Scottish Government European Social Fund, two new OPOF Community Builders, Nicole Bradley and Patricia Compston, and OPOF Volunteering Officer, Rebecca Crossan, will put phase two goals into action over the next 15 months. This core team will work with CVS Inverclyde Deputy Manager, Bill Clements, who continues in his role as OPOF Programme Manager, with support from PR and Marketing Officer Elaine Nicol.
While connecting residents with existing community organisations and resources in the area, the team will encourage people to set up their own groups and activities, in a bid to fill gaps in service provision, improve social inclusion and community resilience, as well as impact on all aspects of poverty. These were some of the key challenges identified during the series of community conversations that gathered opinion in the first phase of OPOF last year. Phase two is now focusing on converting ideas into sustainable action, to ensure a legacy of a stronger, more connected community across Greenock East and Central.
"Groups are one of the essential building blocks to help bind neighbours together in their community," said OPOF Programme Manager, Bill Clements. "As Community Builders, Nicole and Patricia will connect people and help develop new groups that bring people together and inspire others to become involved.
"Rebecca will focus on improving volunteering opportunities in the area, recruiting people who can run groups and supporting others through the process. As well as engaging directly with organisations and community centres, she will use the online Volunteer Inverclyde platform to promote opportunities to local residents.
"By placing local people at the heart of change and tapping into their individual skills, interests and passions, the OPOF team will help Greenock East and Central communities to flourish and bring about lasting, positive change."
The Our Place Our Future Greenock East and Central target area covers Gibshill, Strone, Weir Street, Cartsdyke, Bridgend, Greenock Town Centre, Wellpark, Drumfrochar, Broomhill and Prospecthill. The programme will run until the end of November 2020.
Meet the Team...
Nicole Bradley, Community Builder (pictured above) – having graduated with a BA (Hons) Community Education from the University of Edinburgh, Nicole went on to work for four years for the Stafford Centre, part of Support in Mind Scotland based in the Scottish capital, where she supported people struggling with their mental health to reintegrate into their community, increasing their confidence and self-esteem. She was a mental health support worker in Glasgow before joining the CVS Inverclyde Our Place Our Future Greenock East and Central team.
"I have always enjoyed community engagement and supporting people to reach their full potential. I also love learning from the experience of others and supporting communities to flourish."
Patricia Compston, Community Builder (pictured above) – a qualified RGN, has worked in addictions and recovery and joins the CVS Inverclyde OPOF team from Moving On Inverclyde. Patricia was the community engagement officer during stage one of the OPOF programme. In 2013, she co-founded Inverclyde Recovery Café, where she discovered her passion for community development. She went on to volunteer at the Scottish Recovery Consortium (SRC) in Glasgow where she delivered Steps to Excellence at its national recovery colleges. Patricia was supported by SRC in the development of an idea to create ORT (opiate replacement therapies) Recovery and ME mutual aid meeting and national network, which now run throughout Scotland and Ireland. She continues to volunteer twice a week at Inverclyde Recovery Café.
"I have discovered a passion for community development and believe that everyone has the capacity, skills and passions they may not even realise they have. To be part of that realisation and witness a community flourish is a privilege."
Rebecca Crossan, Volunteering Officer (pictured above) – has worked in the voluntary sector for four year in Glasgow, predominantly with BME communities. She started at Community InfoSource in late 2015, working on its Asylum Seekers and Women's Asylum Seekers housing projects, before going on to work for three years with Saheliya, a specialist mental health and wellbeing support organisation for black, minority ethnic, asylum seeker, refugee and migrant women and girls. where she recruited and supported volunteers, as well as running events and teaching a computer skills class. She is a shop volunteer at Save the Children, where she assists them with their volunteer recruitment.
"I really enjoy working within the voluntary sector, as it gives me the opportunity to meet new and diverse communities and supporting people to develop themselves and improve their local communities."
The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority of the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme, which includes the European Social Fund, which awarded further funding of £121,824 to enable the second phase of OPOF Greenock East and Central to be delivered. For further information, visit the Scottish Government website or follow @scotgovESIF.