The Spice All-Wales Network event took place today, 8th January 2014 in the Felinfoel Community Resource Centre, Llanelli. Rebecca (aka Becca!) was asked to speak about the Street Buddy training and about the motivation for signing up as a Spice Time Credit earn & spend partner.
Street Buddy Training
Becca spoke about the original Street Buddy training in Llanelli and the subsequent training in the Gwendraeth Valley. Highlighting some of the underpinning themes in the training, Becca said “There is a challenge for particularly Welsh communities where there is a history of services being delivered ‘at’ or ‘to’ the community, rather than ‘with’ them. Even though this type of community development is likely to be backed up by sound research demonstrating the local need and justifying intervention, in the long term generally people become disempowered and disengaged with what is happening around them, and develop a learned dependency.
“So a large part of the Street Buddy training was dedicated to looking at breaking the cycle of negativity in terms of the way we talk about ourselves and our communities, so that we’re able to tackle self-limiting beliefs and build optimism.
In addition we were able to take a look at co-production, and in the Gwendraeth the participants themselves helped to co-design the training itself. The core economy is the idea at the very centre of the co-production concept, and we were able to explore community assets not just as physical structures, but also in terms of skills that exist within the participants and their communities.”
Becoming an earn & spend partner
“There were three key aspects of business that I looked at when I was deciding whether to become an earn & spend partner, and these were whether I could be sure it would bring a benefit to both the business and the community, and whether the involvement of the business in Time Credits could be sustainable.
In terms of looking at the business, it was clear that offering earn opportunities meant that I could extend capacity for short (or long!) periods of time, perfect for taking on new short term projects such as the Festival of Dangerous Ideas.
It also meant that I could offer out volunteering opportunities that I know will be valuable and useful, as they would be themed around event management, planning and education. This was very important to me personally. I am a long term carer, and quality volunteer experiences allowed me to keep an active CV and to keep building a useful skills set – I wanted to be able to make this happen for other people too.
For offering spend opportunities, I was aware that feedback coming back to Spice from community members was that learning opportunities were high in people’s priorities. So I identified some spare capacity that would enable me to offer out short courses in exchange for Time Credits.
With the two activities combined, there should be a good flow of Time Credits both in and out of the organisation, creating the right environment for sustainability. It’s feels like an obvious step!”
The event also involved several workshops looking at community need and solutions, and talks from;
- Jane Gwynn – Community member presentation (and Street Buddy!)
- Jude Luckett / Senior Project Manager, Health & Social Care
- Spend Partner: Parc Y Scarlets
- Spice Updates: Ben Dineen, Head of Wales Programmes