It’s been a busy time in Doncaster as the summer draws to a close. We held an enterprise event in September and were bowled over by the range of organisations that took part. I attended a leadership course with a difference at the Defence Academy and we are making real progress on our broader plans.
Before I get to all of that I would like to welcome a new member to the Well Doncaster team. Along with myself and Project Officer Emma Nicholas, we are very happy to have Karen Seaman join the team. Karen has been working in and around Denaby for a number of years in her previous role with in Children’s Services and has been involved in Well Doncaster in her capacity as Denaby Children’s Centre Manager. Now Karen is with us full time she will lead on developing local services and community assets to improve the health and wellbeing of children and families. Karen will be taking over my next blog post as I will be away, where she can introduce herself properly!
On to the Enterprise workshop.
We wanted to understand more about the support available in Doncaster to help build an enterprise culture in Denaby – where people can act on their passions and ideas. It was great to have Well North Executive Chair Andrew Mawson join us and lend us his expertise. It was fantastic to have such a range of groups, organisations, services and companies accept our invitation and came along. There were representatives from business support services, successful local social enterprises, local colleges, local businesses and funders to name a few.
We found that there are already a lot of supports through education and training opportunities, help with business start-ups and peer-mentoring, but sometimes the people that need these supports do not know that they are available, or do not access them. There are some clear things we need to build or strengthen in our plans; the need for an enterprise hub with a particular focus on young people, positive role models for the local community, better communications to raise awareness of what is out there and importantly, the need to make enterprise creative and fun.
Following the workshop we hosted a networking event where local services could make connections and members of the public could receive advice and support in their journey to self-employment. Seventeen people from Denaby and the surrounding area came along and accessed information and advice. A big thank you to Aspiring 2, a local social enterprise, for their help in providing excellent afternoon-tea themed refreshments.
Along with Karen, I spent a week at the Advance Staff and Command Course at the UK Defence Academy, part of the Ministry of Defence. This was an opportunity to spend time with Well North and NHS colleagues to learn about the military approach to leadership, alongside 250 Officers from the armed services starting their year long course. We covered a huge amount from self-awareness and reflection to mental resilience and mindfulness, and the negative traits that can lead to toxic leadership! The week gave us lots of opportunities to critically analyse leadership as a group and present our findings to a VIP audience at the end of the week. There is so much that we can achieve by working alongside the other pathfinders in places like Skelmersdale, Oldham and Sefton; to get a different perspective on the challenges and opportunities we face. This is the start of a more active network between the Pathfinders and Karen and I also need to share what we have learnt locally.
I have been doing a lot of walking on the Crags these past few weeks as I’ve been working with relevant partners to create a clear plan to develop the area. The community’s vision for the Crags is very ambitious with guided walks, cycling routes and art pieces and sculptures. It is to be used for pleasure and educational purposes, with school visits, wild-life visits and connections with the Trans Pennine Trail. All entrances to the Crags are to have gateways which are attractive and the area is promoted, making use of local history and selling the fantastic views.
To achieve this vision a site management plan will be created to direct regeneration work over a 5-10 year period working with the community and partners to really transform the area into a real treasure in Denaby.
As you can see, lots going on at the moment! I will be back in the New Year and leave you in the capable hands of Karen.