On Monday 29th January 2018, we were delighted to host the first Spaces of Hope Hubs Network in Stockport. The Rose Walker Centre in Cheadle Heath was a fitting host for our group of community leaders, who are all seeking to encourage the development of more healthy and hopeful community projects, places and networks across our Borough.
The Spaces of Hope Hubs Network is a chance for us to come together and connect with others who are investing their time and effort in increasing health and wellbeing in our communities.
“Why are we bothering?” I hear you ask. Aren’t we already connected to people? Well, being in leadership in our communities can often feel like a thankless task; a lonely task. Being in leadership in our communities can feel like we are doing work that goes unnoticed and is underfunded. It can often be that no one really understands how tough things are for us either, whether we are willing to admit to that, or not. All this is before we think about the people we are all here to serve; people who are lonely and isolated in our communities.
We are bothering with this network, because being connected is a sure-fire way to increase health and wellbeing in the face of all manner of ills. Being connected helps us deal with the struggles of everyday life, persevere, build character and have hope for the future. We are bothering with this work because, if we have a few comrades to call upon whilst we are serving our communities, then we are fortunate. When we connect with our comrades we can share the benefits of our experience with them, whilst both preserving the things that we hold most dear and gaining access to a wealth of new people, projects, places and possibilities...
The most powerful way we can think of to develop this network is to share the stories of inspirational work that is being done in our communities. We are connecting the different experiences we have and the different stories we tell using Spaces of Hope, the Spaces of Hope principles and a movement of peers empowered to increase connections across our Borough as well as seeing the fruit of increasingly healthy and hopeful hubs flourish. The story we heard at our first Spaces of Hope Hubs Network gathering was from Friendly Fridays.
Friendly Fridays is a brand new venture. It is a friendly space where people can come and have a cup of tea and get involved in different activities that capture the 5 ways to wellbeing. The project is for literally everybody, but for some, a project in the community that is open for everyone has proved to be confusing. Pam Robinson is one of the founders of Friendly Fridays. Pam said "people are so used to looking at which box they fit into, that they can't quite comprehend that there are no boxes ... just come in and be welcome." Pam continued "we want people to be involved and they can see [this] for themselves." This project is pioneering in its approach and has received generous funding from Equity Housing. "Rather than just being a centre for hire, the decision was taken to put some community back into the community centre". What does this look like? Well Pam likened it to growing up in her neighbourhood. Pam said it is "a space full of hope, a space full of welcome, belonging and just being accepted for who you were, without there being any need to be anything other than yourself." This is a wonderful message and a sure sign of a great project. You can learn more about Friendly Fridays by visiting our 2018 Hubs Media tab and watching the interview with Pam.
The Spaces of Hope Hubs Network is an opportunity to share stories from people, places, projects and networks in our communities. The Network helps us link these stories to our personal experiences and inspires us to identify what spaces of hope look like to us, in light of what we have shared together in each session. We then apply a Spaces of Hope principle; the first one is 'taking responsibility', giving us a common way to connect and then to take action. This was a great way to inspire the network members and to help them grow their work. The proof of the pudding is in the tasting though. Did network members take something inspiration from the session? We asked them and have their answers for you. We have to say, we are encouraged in advance of our next session running on the 28th February 2018. You can register for the next Spaces of Hope Hubs Network here
3 word summaries
At the end of the session, I captured peoples thoughts. I've provided the graphic for you so that you can get the data first hand, but we have also picked out some quotes for you to finish...
Dangerously Transformational ...