REPORT on Chagford Community Wellbeing event, 10 am – 1 pm Saturday 4 September 2021

Please see this final report:

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 councillors

The event was carried out in a local community hall with covid risk assessments in place and was the second community event we have organised since 2019, before the pandemic. We worked to facilitate it with Wellmoor, an organisation co-ordinating and organising wellbeing initiatives in Moretonhampstead and North East Dartmoor. The event was designed to be partly a launch of the ‘Chagford List’ – a database which put together by the Chagford Health Centre Friends and Patients Group, to advise people of local services in the community.

1. Changes to our approach

Chagford’s Jubilee Hall is a community venue just outside the town centre, in which we observed social distancing for both stallholders and the public.

Operating under the current covid regulations meant changing our format:

  • Covid risk assessment on venue/event
  • Test and Trace procedures at entry and hand gel throughout
  • Lateral flow tests for stallholders
  • One metre distancing for stalls
  • Community consultation taken by recorded interview and written response, but with a scribe to limit social contact

2. Stallholder evaluation

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

  • 100% felt they had expanded on their knowledge of other services available, with 64% feeling they had learned a lot
  • 100% felt encouraged to engage with other services as a result, with 50% feeling very positive about doing so
  • 86% felt they had useful exchanges with members of the public.

3.  Public response

People commented on how friendly Chagford was as a place to live. They also enjoyed the range of shops that it has. The Memory Café was highly praised and the sense of community was appreciated. However, the rural isolation of the town was noted; particularly regarding the lack of transport to enable lonely older people to make social contact. One resident talked of how hard lockdown had been, living alone; how she would like to visit the neighbouring town for a lunch club, but had no means of getting there as no transport services are available. Another person commented on the divide between the ‘older’ retired Chagford and the younger population who lived in the newer houses and usually worked. People regretted the closure of banks and more recently the WI. People wanted more transport possibilities for social opportunities. Despite this, all commented on how the town was a lovely place to live.

  • “I was very interested in talking to the lady who was looking after the carers. I’ve got a friend who’s caring for her mother at the moment, and I think it’s difficult.”
  • “We don’t have access to the internet. I don’t think people are aware of what’s available and how to access it.”
  • “I don’t have digital, so I don’t know HOW to know what’s on. People forget about you and you get left behind.”

4.  How well did it work?

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

  • “The event gave us invaluable time to network.”
  • “It has increased my knowledge of other groups and services operation in West Devon.”
  • “I’ve had lots of useful feedback, a referral and a volunteer application from the event!”
  • “A really good mix of relevant wellbeing services.”
  • “Although I was aware of other services, it was a really good opportunity to make sure they were aware of MY work within the council, and meet external partners.”

5.  Participants

Chagford PPG (Chagford List)N Dartmoor Primary Care Network
Community Links SWW Devon BC and S Hams DC
Learn DevonCitizens in Policing
TalkworksOkehampton Community Transport
Free4LifeNedcare
Devon CarersProper Job
Community GardenWDCVS/Wis£rmoney
Friendly FacesWellmoor
One Small StepTamar Energy Community
E Dartmoor U3ABobyActiv8ed
St Michael the Archangel ChurchChagford Recreational Trust
Dartmoor’s DaughterThe Filo Project

6.  Learning and thanks

We were pleased to have County Councillor James McInnes open our event, who stayed to spend time talking to people during the course of the morning. The airy venue meant we all felt safe, and it was easy for people to network and the public to find their way around in the space. All people spoken to had engaged with stallholders, and information was being taken away to share with others. Some people were hoping to take up new activities as a result of the event. Stallholders felt that the atmosphere was lively and positive, and there was a continual hubbub of chatter as people networked with each other and shared their services with the public. We felt satisfied that we had created an event that generated positive experiences for those that attended, and fulfilled our aims. We would also like to thank Becky Beasley, Social Prescriber, for being on hand.

The venue and date of the event had been chosen by Wellmoor, our local community partners, prior to Transitions working in partnership with them. Unfortunately, as the date was still within the school summer holidays, the primary school could not participate, but were happy to publicise through their newsletter. This also affected footfall at the event, which was not as well attended by the public as we had hoped; a less ‘virtual’ concentration of publicity could also have helped in this. These are things that we will bear in mind going forward.

We provided free refreshments, which were served with a smile by Lorraine; biscuits being liberally offered to all stallholders! We were also grateful for the help of the hall in sharing information and allowing us to visit prior to the event.

For more information, please contact Billie at volunteering@westdevoncvs.org.uk or ring 07704 155984.

Transitions’ is a National Lottery funded project operating over West Devon and Torridge, now in its fifth year. It offers free debt and money advice to people who are isolated by circumstance or geography. It seeks to boost community resilience by hosting community wellbeing events across rural communities in partnership with West Devon CVS.