Lifton Community Wellbeing event, 4-7 pm, Friday 8 October 2021 – another successful event celebrating everything that is Lifton!

Please see the 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
  • To finally run an event that was originally scheduled for March 2020, but was postponed by the first Covid lockdown!

The event was carried out in the Lifton Community Centre with covid risk assessments in place and was the third community event we have organised since 2019, before the pandemic.

1. Changes to our approach

Lifton’s Community Centre is on the main road through the village, and our event took place in the main hall. We advised on PPE choices and social distancing for both stallholders and the public.

Operating under the current covid regulations meant changing our format:

  • Covid risk assessment on venue/event
  • QR Code/Test and Trace procedures at entry
  • Hand gel throughout
  • Lateral flow tests suggested for stallholders
  • One metre distancing between stalls
  • Limited refreshment provision
  • Community consultation taken by recorded interview and written response, but with scribes to limit physical 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 29% feeling they had learned a lot
  • 86% felt encouraged to engage with other services as a result, with 43% feeling very positive about doing so
  • 87% felt they had useful exchanges with members of the public.

3.  Public response

Most people felt Lifton to be a peaceful and friendly place with a sense of community, where people knew their neighbours. Some people felt that the community was at times quite inward- looking. A governor of the primary school commented on the low self-esteem of a number of parents, and of a high level of need in some students. The pressure that new housing was placing on the school and the GP surgery was also noted by people, as was the lack of transport for elderly people to the surgery. People had to attend the main practise site in Tavistock for some services that they felt ought to be available at the Lifton surgery. Concern was also expressed at the amount of new housing being planned. The village spans a busy main road, and this was also raised; people were concerned about speeding vehicles and safety. The village shop and community centre are appreciated, as is the farm shop nearby.

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

  • “I have learned there is a possibility of setting up a foodbank at St Mary’s Church. There is a need for it.”
  • “I didn’t know about the Sea Scouts…now I do! I might join.”
  • “They are going to go along and try the Youth Club out.”
  • “The local Councillor is having an initiative to record the speed of people going through (the village). We’ve signed up for that, which we wouldn’t have done if we hadn’t come.”
  • “I’m getting enticed to be on the committee for Sea Scouts. I was doing that up north!”
  • “I will share about Devon Carers, and I will pass on information about Wisermoney.”
  • “I didn’t know there was a Drama Club.”
  • “I might tell my friends about the Youth Club and the Sea Scouts.”
  • “We were interested in the local history group.”
  • “We are so lucky that there are so many organisations; it’s just a real pity they can’t reach some of the people that really need help.”

4.  How well did it work?

Stallholder evaluation highlighted a number of positives from the event. These included two new members for the Youth Club, one for Sea Scouts and also an experienced new committee member for the latter. The WI also recruited, and plans for a Carol Service began to be discussed. The new vicar had taken up his living during lockdown and this event was the first chance for him to meet a number of parishioners en masse. Comments on the event included:

  • “..an excellent networking opportunity…very worthwhile and informative”
  • “I was approached at the event by representatives of different groups to discuss how we might work together and have already been emailed by others and I have emailed some myself with ideas of how we could help each other.”
  • “There was a variety of organisations represented – with some very local, West Devon based and even Devon wide organisations with a wide variety of offers for local people– so there was something for most age groups and needs.”
  • “I was able to speak to members of the public and hand out our details.”
  • “Some potential new members!”
  • “It was an excellent opportunity for networking with other groups, worthwhile attending just for that.”
  • “There was not a great deal of public footfall, but those we spoke to were happy to hear about the service and potential volunteering opportunities.”

5.  Participants

Methodist Church1st Lifton Sea Scouts
Lifton Youth ClubTASS
Learn DevonUnique by Nature
PrintworksTavistock Memory Cafe
Lifton Local History SocietyLifton Community Centre Committee
Devon CarersCitizen’s Advice
Lifton WIWDCVS/Wis£rmoney
Herbalife NutritionLifton Parish Council
The Devonshire ShepherdessTamar Energy Community
Tamarside (incl Lifton) SurgeryMedical Detection Dogs
Devon and Cornwall PoliceBrentor and Moor Compassionate Neighbours
Red Spider drama groupSt Mary’s Parish Church

We also shared literature from The Filo Project, and the local Community Link magazine.

6.  Learning and thanks

We were pleased to have Borough Councillor Chris Edmonds open our event, who stayed to spend time talking to people during the course of the evening. The height and space of the hall meant we all felt safe (which people actively commented on), and it was easy for people to network and the public to find their way around in the space.

We felt satisfied that we had created an event that generated positive experiences for those that attended, and as such, fulfilled our aims. However, attendance by the public was limited. A number of commentators noted this.

Some people felt that publicity could have been wider; we advertised virtually, by posters in local shops, signboards on the road for the days beforehand (thanks to help from Lifton Youth Club) and on social media in order to have a good spread of reach.

More people felt that the public were not yet ready to attend community events, especially older people who felt vulnerable. Some local community groups have not yet resumed face to face activities, and there was surprise from some members of the public that groups had survived the difficulties presented by Covid.

The primary school, whilst fully supportive, felt they could not physically involve themselves as had been planned in our original event. The new climate for public engagement seems too complicated for schools to negotiate, alongside their increased ongoing responsibilities.  

Lifton has a very rural hinterland, with little community/public transport, and none available in the evenings. Thus most members of the public attending came on foot, and accessibility to the event was more or less limited to villagers from Lifton itself.

All people who did attend 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; there were a number of younger people who attended, who left actively intending to take up new things. Stallholders felt that the atmosphere was lively and positive, and there was continual chatter as people networked with each other and shared their services with the public. A number of organisations recruited new members, and explored future joint working partnerships.

We would like to thank Pat Diango, Social Prescriber, for being on hand to talk to the public and also support with covid precautions. We were fortunate to have support from the Youth Club who were holding their first actual meeting directly after our event, and also the sterling volunteers from the Community Centre itself, who ran the refreshments and as well as providing information and support.

“There are some amazing people who care for others!”

For more information, please contact Billie Burnett at West Devon CVS by emailing volunteering@westdevoncvs.org.uk or by ringing 07704 155984.