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H C T THA Bulletin

We l c o m e ! It has been another busy month at CCS, we have expanded the Village Agent service to include support

November 2020

In this Issue

for unpaid Carers - we now have a massive 55 Agents available to unpaid Carers in Somerset, and our Carers

Somerset Carers • P. 2 & 3

Agents have moved into the Village Agent team. Packed with online events and training - hear from our Language Connect learners, a New Good Neighbour scheme, and Community Buildings

Community Buildings Update • P. 5 Language Connect Learners• P.9 - 10

updates. Happy Reading!

Open Mental Health • P.12

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G o o d Ne i g hb o u r s i n No r t h Tow n i n Ta u nt o n a r e a l i f e l i n e i n t h e c o mmu ni t y Good Neighbours Schemes are community projects run by local groups of volunteers to help those who are frail, elderly, disabled, vulnerable or isolated to enjoy a better quality of life. Help is given free of charge with simple tasks such as shopping, collecting prescriptions, attending hospital appointments, dog walking, gardening as well as the opportunity for a regular friendly chat. Nor th Town Community Support was formed in midMarch, by Cllr Caroline Ellis and neighbours Ann Shorthouse and Jenny Eastwell-Keogh, when it was clear the pandemic was going to have a massive impact on people’s everyday lives. The group sprang into action, leafleting every home in the area to let people know how to ask for help if shielding or self-isolating. Using WhatsApp for day-to-day communication, offers of support came flooding in and within days the group were out and about getting help to those in need. During lockdown North Town Community Support offered a lifeline to over

150 people, not just in

practical terms with shopping and prescriptions, but also by helping to reduce isolation and loneliness. The whole community has benefited, with lots of new friendships made and everyone has the reassurance of knowing they can access help, should they need it. In September this year, the group joined the Somerset Good Neighbours Scheme, making it part of a supportive network with access to peer support and advice on best practice.

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Cllr Caroline Ellis says: “ The current Covid-19 crisis is far from over and other big challenges lie ahead (rising poverty, the crisis in health and social care, climate change) so every community needs to pull together and be good neighbours as never before.” The more areas join the scheme the bigger the difference we will make in terms of community wellbeing and preventive support, helping people maintain their freedom and independence for much longer. If you live in or near North Town, can spare a few hours of your time a week, or even a month, and would like to join our amazing volunteer team we would love to hear from you

Somerset Good Neighbours is run by CCS (Community Council for Somerset) and is supported by funding from the National Lottery Community Fund.

Anyone wishing to volunteer with North Town Community Support should get in touch via the website:

Jane Birch the project

Set up your own

manager for CCS says :


“ We’re calling on residents and community

Our useful toolkit is available by visiting

groups in Somerset, who have been volunteering to support their community through Covid-19, to get contact with CCS about setting up a Good Neighbours Scheme. CCS can provide advice, training, and a small grant to go towards set-up costs. The scheme can help local groups, who want to keep that incredible Covid-19 community spirit

the CCS website CLICK HERE Any community in Somerset interested in setting up a scheme should contact CCS

Email: or by calling 01823 331 222.

alive, to be sustainable for the future and able to face the challenges now and in the months and years ahead.”

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An important update for Somerset ’s Village Ha l l s a n d Co m mu n i t y Buildings Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) has issued information for community buildings to help them understand the implications of the new nationwide lockdown restrictions which came into force on November 5th. All halls are required to close their doors, but a few uses will still be allowed. These include education, childcare and work purposes, providing food and essential retail activities and to host organised support groups offering mutual aid or therapy.

ACRE Safeguarding Project Over the coming months we will be providing additional information, training and support to community building committees to increase understanding of safeguarding legislation and to ensure that our halls are welcoming and safe places for all. This is part of a £100k national safeguarding programme led by ACRE and funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. ACRE has a Safeguarding Week from November 16th - 20th. For more information visit: our-work/safeguarding

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You can download the information sheet here. If you have any questions or concerns contact

‘ L e t ’ s G e t We s t S o m e r s e t Mo v i n g Again’ Car Appeal CCS is calling on the generosity of Somerset’s people to donate their second-hand cars, that are in working order but that they no longer need, to help get West Somerset moving. Following a very successful appeal for donations of bikes earlier this year, this new campaign aims to further improve access to employment and education for local people who may need to travel longer distances to take up opportunities. This innovative scheme is supported by the West Somerset Opportunity Area. Suitable cars are those that are in working order and are economical to run, ideally smaller-size cars that use less fuel and are cheaper to insure than larger vehicles. Minor mechanical problems and no MOT are not a barrier as qualified mechanics, working at local not-for-profit social enterprise Rusty Road 2 Recovery, will carry out a full service and safety check before handing the vehicles over. Any vehicles that are beyond repair will be sold for parts, with all the profits put back into the project. Katherine Armstrong, CCS Community Involvement Officer, says: “Please donate your unneeded cars to provide transport for lower-income people to get back into work and education.

First, we will service the vehicle and undertake any minor repairs to gain a 12-month MOT. At the time of being given the vehicle, the recipient will be shown how to undertake basic checks to maintain the vehicle in working condition. On top of that, our partners at West Somerset Advice and Rusty Road 2 Recovery will support recipients with financial advice and a free vehicle check within the first 6 months of ownership.” If you have a car to donate please get in touch with CCS Community Involvement Officer Katherine via email k with your name and phone number and a brief description of the car, or call 07985 744623 to discuss the donation further.

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Somerset Community Oil Scheme Somerset Community Oil Scheme is a heating oil bulk buying scheme which covers the whole of Somerset. Bulk purchasing offers significant savings and the scheme is open to individuals, community groups and businesses.

The nex t order deadline is the 6th November 2020 To join the scheme email: Or for more details visit: www.ccslovesomerset/oil

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Small Grant Fund Closed The Somerset Diverse Communities small grant scheme is no longer taking applications. The grant scheme closed on the 16th October 2020.


17 applications were received . The grant hopes to be open for applications next year and you will be notified when you can apply. Contact Michal Puzynski, BAME Community Engagement Officer

Call on: 07377 363 165, for more information Email:

Or visit our website: https :// somerset-diverse-communities

English clas s es for Mus l i m w o me n Somerset Diverse Communities is partnering with Somerset Skills and Learning to offer a series of ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classes for Muslim women. This is an opportunity to learn English in a Muslim women-only group via the video conferencing app Zoom.

For more information and to apply contact Jusna on 07946 461544 / email

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Somerset Language Connect Somerset Language Connect is a project aimed at bringing together learners from minority ethnic communities across Somerset, who would like to improve their conversational English, with learning partner who aim to support them.

Hear f r om our l ear ne r s : Three of our Language learners wanted to tell you about their Somerset Language Connect journey

Me et

Frances ca:

I am Italian and I live in Yeovil since 2013. I studied English at school, but once here, I didn’t have many chances to experience real conversations. There is a huge difference between a book explanation and a full immersion into a foreign language. In these years I obviously learned how to basically chat with people, but I never developed this skill thoroughly.

After the first appointments, I immediately noticed differences in my day to day use of the language (i.e. more confident while talking over the phone). I have been lucky enough to work with a person that is keen and In June, a friend of mine talked knowledgeable. I have been to me about the opportunity to able to improve and clear some improve the language trough doubts about verbs, grammar virtual 1:1 conversation, and I as well as pronunciation. immediately accepted. I started But I would like to underline to webchat with Alex twice at that the biggest benefit week since July. came from talking about

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cultural diff erences between England, Italy and others. I firmly think that it is as important as grammar. In Italy, I always worked between costumer care and retail. I perfectly know how effective communication is important, and, because I was aware that I wasn’t able to express myself in English as I would have done in Italian, I always been reluctant to apply for jobs that would have suited my experience. “ Thank to the improvement I recently achieved with Alex, I fell that my self confidence has grown, and I would recommend this experience to everyone”

“ “

Meet Carla: Since I started the course with Mollie I feel much more confident to speak English. It also motivated my days during the lockdown period. It has been a rich experience and we have had great conversations where I’ve been learning grammar and some British ways of speak English! Thank you very much Jusna and Mollie for helping me and many others with this great idea and initiative! “

Me et Adr ian & Mi guel :

Our family arrived in England on 14 June 2019, since then Miguel and I search to learn English to have good work opportunities. In 2019 we’d English Classes from CCS, and in one of these classes we met Jusna who offered us to participate in this extraordinary program, and we are so grateful for CCS to help us to learn English and make friends. We have had conversations twice a week with three amazing volunteers (Heather Eggins, Mick Randall and Lynn Randall) that show us more than the English language. They talk about a lot of English culture and

knowledge about other countries that they used to live in the past. This program helps us to interact better with the community and how to solve daily simple problems and it’s making our lives easier. This program is a marvellous opportunity to make good friends and to improve our English skills. Thanks all of the people involved in this program that make difference in our lives!”

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Racism Stops Wit h Me – watch again! Our fantastic digital event, Racism Stops With Me, is now on YouTube. Listen to personal experiences of racism and prejudice, and conversations about what we can do to help bring about an equal and fair society.

Click HERE to watch! Or type this link in your web browser

Grants of £250 to reduce loneliness at Christ mas by spreading festive cheer Grants of £250 to reduce loneliness at Christmas by spreading festive cheer Somerset Communit y Foundation (SCF ) would like to suppor t communit y groups that can help to reduce loneliness and spread Christmas cheer through food and festive activities . To apply, you will need to complete a shor t application form by Friday 13 November.

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F o r i n f o r ma t i o n o n h o w t o a p p l y f o r a F e s t i v e Fu n d g r a nt , v i s i t : w w w. s o m e r s e t c f . o r g . u k / festivefund

Open Mental Heal t h Mental health organisations have come together to provide 24/7 support to adults Somerset. The Open Mental Health team is here to help you, to make sure you get the support you need, when you need it.

Call the 24-hour support line on 01823 276892

To find out more and download leaflets visit; https :// projects/open-mental-health

S t e p Up S o m e r s e t The new Step Up Somerset website offers a one-stop employment support for Somerset residents, including: • help and advice for young people just starting out, • support for those who may have lost their job • advice for anyone looking for training and skills for a change of career.


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CCS AGM 2020 & Communit y Buildings Tr a i n i n g A big thank you to everyone who attended the CCS AGM and Community Buildings Training. This workshop focused on looking forward and exploring how halls can adapt and grow to ensure they thrive as community hubs over the next decade. Participants took part in some interesting discussions around the future opportunities, needs and challenges of halls over the coming years. Suggestions included an increased use of halls for health and social care as well as hosting more local services such as bars, shops and libraries.

There were thought provoking presentations from Bernard Hammick (Hallmaster Ltd), Deborah Clarke (ACRE) and Robert Horn about the changing nature of village halls. The morning ended with a good news story from Richard Holland from Bishops Hull Hub who talked about their successful fundraising campaign and development of their new community building, a project supported by Smart Communities.

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CCS General Meet ing 3rd December 2020 & Community Buildings Energy Conference As we were not able to adopt the new Articles of Association on the 22nd October, we are proposing to hold a General Meeting on 3 December 2020, alongside another Community Buildings training. An online workshop for community building trustees to discuss issues around energy eff iciency and to explore renewable energy solutions. This will include presentations on energy saving measures, new technologies and funding opportunities. There will also be plenty of opportunities to ask questions and share experiences and ideas. Look out for more details on both and we hope to see you there.

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B ik e Pr oj e c t Updat e Another update about our Get West Somerset Moving bike appeal. We are so very grateful to those people who have continued to donate bikes and are still absolutely determined to support the project. We seem to have captured the hearts and minds of the people of Somerset – your generosity is making a huge difference to people’s lives. In total we have had over 100 bikes donated

with 82 out in the communit y mak ing a diff erence in peoples lives! “ Thank you very much, this now means the whole family can go out on bike rides together, we are very happy thank you very much” Andrew and Libby. “I’m very happy, I work in Minehead and have to quite often walk in [from a neighbouring village] or even hitchhike, but now I can ride a bike, thank you very much.” Jacob. “ Thank you, Elmo has been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes recently and fitness is a really key way of controlling it and with Covid there have been no football training or groups that he can attend. Now with the bikes we can get out as a family to exercise and he can use it to get to school. Thank you very much, these bikes are going to make a huge difference.” Charlie. For more information on the West Somerset Bike Appeal visit:

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