For the last two years Karen Seaman has been a vital part of the Well Doncaster team as she led the work in Denaby Main. Karen was seconded to the Well Doncaster in 2017 and has work tirelessly to support the community. Denaby doesn’t loose Karen as she will be returning to her post as Family Hub Manager for the South area of Doncaster, which includes Denaby.
Well Doncaster wanted to understand the impact of having a dedicated development officer based in the community and so spoke to residents and partners, as well as Karen, to explore her role. Check out what they had to say in this video
We hand the rest of this post over to Karen as she reflect on her time with Well Doncaster:
Well firstly a big thank you to Public Health for allowing me the opportunity to work on the Well Doncaster project. Developing strong partnerships has been vital to everything that I’ve been doing to support individuals and families and build community capacity.
For two and a half years I have had the privilege of working within the community in Denaby, engaging with families to support 1001 Critical Days offer at the Family Hub in Denaby by addressing a wide range of health and wellbeing needs.
This has ranged from linking in with local GP surgeries and clinics to offer Family Hub services to all families, to supporting families sustain their tenancies through Garage 32 A Denaby based initiative which re-homes unwanted furniture and household items.
Developing the community allotments from an over grown unused plot to a flourishing space filled with orchards, chickens and fruit and veg that feed local people. The allotment has been a venue for a number of community events, one of the biggest was the creation of a Winter Wonderland which hosted 3 reindeers and Santa’s grotto. Working in partnership with Doncaster Council’s Communities team, Family Hub staff and local schools and numerous volunteers we created great memories for hundreds of children and families.
One of the highlights has to be helping to paint the mural in Grays Court, the main shopping precinct in Denaby. A local artist was commissioned and carried out consultation sessions through the community to co-create the design with the community. I got stuck in and painted some myself and 30ft mural is well respected by the community and really brightens up the area.
I have really enjoyed supporting community organisations to grow and success as well as pull together can deliver fantastic events for the community such as the Tour de Yorkshire celebrations, Christmas events and a host of summer activities.
I have also been successful in drawing funding into Denaby and was successful with the Yorkshire Sport Foundation which enabled me to work with young parents. Working in partnership with the midwife to identify ladies gave me contacts and starting points for the project where Mothers were invited to fitness sessions and healthy cooking classes. This has led on to lasting friendships and engagement at the Family Hub. One of the qualities that contributed to the success of the project was time to engage with the young people and build trusting relationships.
The development of Denaby library, which was reopened by Well Doncaster in 2015, has also played a large part of my role. The community wanted a hub where they could go and access support, feel welcomed and build connections. The library continues to grow through active volunteers who run the space and local groups and organisations providing sessions and services to meet the needs of the community.
It has been a real journey working so closely with a community and there have been successes and learning along the way. One of the best things about my role is that I was given time and autonomy to engage with individuals, families and groups in the community, build relationships, understand their needs and work with them to find lasting solutions.