REPORT – Black Torrington Community Wellbeing event, Monday 28 March 2022.

The Transitions Project, a partnership between West Devon CVS and Wiser£Money, have run another Community Wellbeing event, this time at Black Torrington Village Hall, Beaworthy EX21 5PX from 2 – 5 pm on Monday 28 March 2022.

These events are designed to help local residents gather useful information, to provide inspiration for them to take up new activities, to make new friends and also to offer an opportunity to have their voices heard. By bringing community groups and services together under one roof, our aim is that we might also strengthen local connections and encourage networking.

REPORT:

‘Transitions’ Project’s Black Torrington Wellbeing and Community event, 2-5 pm March 28th 2022 at

Black Torrington Village Hall

“A lovely space and welcome!”

Our Aims:

  • To give people the chance to find out more about their local community groups and services
  • To share information about where to go for advice
  • To inspire people to take up new opportunities and make new friends
  • To give people the chance to talk to local council representatives
  • To provide networking opportunities to local organisations and services

The event was held in the Black Torrington Village Hall with covid risk assessments in place. It is our eleventh event since Jan 2018, and was the fifth community event we have organised as easing of Covid restrictions has allowed.

1. Changes to our approach

Black Torrington Village Hall is in the centre of the village. We advised on PPE choices and social distancing for both stallholders and the public.

As there are no mandatory rules under current Covid regulations, we suggested measures to both stallholders and the public, and asked them to exercise responsible choices, but could not insist. We also assessed the safety of the space. The main entrance door to the building was kept open to ensure a flow of air through the space, as were the doors and windows to the main hall. Some stalls were set up outside the building: other stalls and displays were in the main hall which had very high ceilings to help ventilate the space. Fire doors were kept open to maximise the flow of air, as was kitchen access to refreshments. These were provided in disposable/recyclable cups and snacks were individually wrapped. We ensured all tables were cleaned appropriately before use.

  • Covid risk assessment on venue/event
  • Hand gel throughout
  • Revised refreshment provision

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Summary figures

 45 people were involved in the event including:

  •  14 stalls
  •  17 organisations represented
  •  10 members of the public

2. Stallholder evaluation

We asked stallholders for their evaluation on the value of the event. Of the responses we received:

  • 60% felt they had expanded on their knowledge of other services available
  • 80% felt encouraged to engage with other services as a result
  • 40% felt they had useful exchanges with members of the public.

3.  Public response

People felt Black Torrington to be a small but friendly place with a sense of community. It has a GP surgery and primary school which currently has 17 pupils. Other local facilities are the Village Hall used for local groups (including a visiting Post Office service on two mornings), a pub, the church and chapel. Holsworthy Rural transport provides a Ring and Ride service which usually operates on Mondays and Wednesdays; typically this will consist of one trip focussed on shopping and supermarket and one as an excursion out. There is a public bus service to Bideford for 3 hours on a Monday, or to Holsworthy for 3 hours on a Wednesday.

Some people noted how isolated older people have become through Covid. There is continuing isolation as people have lost their social confidence. This was particularly relevant as at the time of our event there were significant local outbreaks of infection which made people wary of social contact.   

Attendees at our event were very positive about what they took away from it:

  • “I’ve never been to an event like this, with so much information!”
  • “I didn’t know that so many things were available.”
  • “Lots of things don’t happen anymore. I came along so I could see a few faces and get a bit of a cup of tea. Don’t see many people from the farm where I live.”
  •  “The singing was beautiful. Lovely voices.”
  • “I’ve never had a go with handbells before!”
  • “I’ve taken information that I’ll pass on to people.”

4.  How well did it work?

Stallholder evaluation highlighted a number of positives from the event. Comments included:

  • “Opportunity to network.”
  • “To have the opportunity to talk in person was so beneficial.”
  • “It was great to catch up with organisations.”

The local Reforge Community Choir performed a short set of songs, and a number of people commented on how enjoyable the singing was. There was also the chance to have some hands on practice with the local hand bell ringing group The Ruby Ringers. There was positive feedback about information being taken out to other places – especially neighbouring villages. We will share the directory of contact information from the event with the Black Torrington and Chilla Times and the Parish Council to disseminate through the local community.

However, public footfall was low, despite publicity on social media and posters displayed in neighbouring villages. Posters were also displayed at the church, school and GP surgery as well as the venue itself within Black Torrington.

5.  Participants

Wisermoney

WDCVS
TTVS VelocityTTVS Financial Inclusion Project
Learn DevonHope Chapel
Ruby Handbell RingersSunrise Diversity
One Small StepSouth West Water
Reforge ChoirEnergy 361
St Mary’s ChurchBlack Torrington C of E Primary School
Citizen’s AdviceHolsworthy Rural Transport
Tamar Energy Community

6.  Learning and thanks
We felt that we offered a range of stalls for people to peruse, which was a view supported by the public and stallholders alike. We would like to thank Councillor Philip Hackett who kindly agreed to open the event for us and stayed to engage with the public and stallholders.
People who attended engaged with stallholders, and information was taken away to share with others. However, there was also a sense that some people just wanted to come along to meet others in a community space.
Public attendance was limited however. We were constrained as to when the space was available to us, and it transpired that this coincided with the day that public transport passed through the village and a day trip had taken place. Realistically this might have increased numbers but not drastically. Of more concern to people was a high rate of Covid in the local area, with a number of significant outbreaks. This led to the withdrawal of the school from active participation and undoubtably limited uptake from the public. The local surgery also felt that they could not spare anyone to be present in the circumstances. This was a factor outside of our control. A comment was made that it might be bit daunting attending a community event if you’d never been to one before, but equally comments were made about the good welcome and enthusiasm of those involved. As a community, the village itself is quite active; however, it was observed by a local resident that the village tends to look inside it’s community for support, rather than outside it to other agencies. This may also have contributed to the lower footfall. Given the positive response from those who did attend however, we felt that the over arching factor for people staying at home was almost certainly local Covid numbers.
 
 
We were very grateful to the Black Torrington Village Hall for allowing us to put on  our event, provide chances to visit beforehand, and for the effort they put in to making it run smoothly. The Reforge Choir singers performed a very enjoyable set of songs for us. We were also grateful to the Ruby Handbell Ringers who provided stallholders and public alike with the opportunity to try their hand!  We felt we had created an event that generated positive experiences for those that attended, and as such, fulfilled our aims.