2020 was a year like no other, with the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic!
It was a challenging time and running a charity in an uncertain world was difficult to begin with. However, if there was ever a time for people to come together and support one another than this was it!
In 2020 the Neighbourhood Network saw communities coming together, helping, supporting, and looking out for others in ways it had previously only dreamt of.
What better way to start the year than to support residents who were stepping up in the heart of their own communities and offering them the resources and the support needed for them to continue with their hard work during this difficult year.
One of the first things the team did as the pandemic began was to ‘check-in’ with its member groups, checking they felt safe and supported and had access to tools to manage continue supporting others. Support for members varied from signposting to local foodbanks and other agency support, designing and printing newsletters for members who wanted hyper local information for their immediate areas, offering free online training/awareness sessions to keep members in the loop and extend their knowledge further.
A key achievement of this year was to focus on organising a ‘Rewards’ activity instead of the charity’s usual face-to-face Annual Awards Event. Members were asked to submit items from their ‘wish lists’ which would help them within their own communities. This was a great success with 7 members benefitting and over £1200 total spend on items which will benefit the communities of Hull. The team pulled together a video showing the fantastic items and projects that the ‘Rewards’ activity supported. To view the video, click here – https://youtu.be/fjyBHxAZadQ
One area the team wanted to develop during 2020 was its training provision. Before the pandemic hit, the team had scheduled events booked in for March and April, so decided to continue with these, but hosted online. The ‘Keep Connected’ online sessions began and by the end of 2020, 34 sessions had taken place with 495 people attending throughout the year. Session topics varied with a host of professionals in their fields presenting the sessions, topics included Cyber Awareness, Allotment Security, Home Security, NHW & Social Media, Wildlife talks, Fraud, Cancer Awareness. The team also organised ‘Meet the Police and Crime Commissioner’ online discussions.
During this year involvement increased with national Neighbourhood Watch Network by being involved in a number of their development projects, this included being a contributor to their Strategy Steering Group which helped to form the 5-year strategy plan, being part of their judging panel for a national treehouse competition and being a key note speaker at the summer conference. National Neighbourhood Watch Network view the Neighbourhood Network as a best practice model, and direct other areas of the UK who are looking to develop a framework like the Neighbourhood Network. Areas supported via NHWN include Mexborough and Cumbria.
Overall, the start of 2020 was a little unsettling with home working and getting use to a new way of working and engaging. However, fast forward 12 months and it has been a great way to engage in new ways and move forward as a charity. We cannot wait to kick start 2021 with hopefully a year of new beginnings!