The Community Builders have now spent 12 months living alongside young people at Hope Rise in their voluntary community cohesion roles and have played an essential part in the success of the project in its first year.
They have learned many things along the way. Initially they believed that community building would involve an organised series of events and activities, but over time discovered that the most effective community building took place organically and in the moment. Lockdown brought huge challenges when it was announced only weeks after people moved in, and much creativity was needed to foster community building – from getting to know each other virtually, to playing badminton in the floodlit carpark or homemade skittles on the walkway.
Each Community Builder brings with them different skills and life experiences, all of which contribute to the richness of their offer to the diverse Hope Rise community. They are proactive, community-minded individuals who have provided practical and emotional support to facilitate a stable and supportive home environment, as well as opportunities to engage with the wider community and expand residents’ horizons.
From hanging pictures and putting up shelves, to taking in parcels; From developing and navigating friendships to celebrating successes, planting wild flowers in the car park and voting in local elections; From playing basketball with other young people in the park, to sharing homemade soup and toffee apples with a firepit and some sparklers. Essentially creating a network of neighbourliness in which young people can flourish.