Steph and Rozzy from the Holyhead Local Conversation team have been working with the Royal Society for Public Health and Locality on a Community Spirit Framework over the past year.
This document is now complete, and it lists Môn CF as one of the top leading community organisations in the UK that have contributed. Well done to Steph, Rozzy and the team who have been working around the clock over the past year to keep community spirits high!
The Community Spirit Level: A framework for measuring, improving and sustaining community spirit
Holyhead Local Conversation Case Study
Step 5 – Keep communication going
Send regular updates to stakeholders and the wider community, providing opportunities for people to provide feedback, and to get involved in the project. Encourage people to send you ideas or relevant information, and assess your reach – particularly with groups or communities from which you don’t get much engagement. Be prepared for your work to expand and to seek further resources as more people come on board and new ideas for actions are proposed.
Môn Communities Forward, Holyhead: Community spirit leaves none behind
Holyhead lies on Holy Island, off the Isle of Anglesey on the Welsh Coast. Of Holyhead’s 12,000 residents, 58% are of working age, 19% are over 65 and 23% are under 18. 97% were born in the UK, with around 1% being born in the Republic of Ireland, 1% from other EU countries and another 1% from countries outside the EU.
Môn Communities Forward currently runs a project called the Local Conversation, where individuals and groups are empowered to make a difference within their own community. The ‘difference’ takes many forms, such as a bustling Youth Café, a Knit & Natter group, a mental health support group, parents and toddler mornings and many more services, which are community-led by volunteers who want to tackle isolation within the community.
When COVID-19 hit, the community pulled together. The Town Council set up a volunteer group which helped with delivering food parcels and essentials to those unable to leave their home, while other volunteers offered help via social media. The extent of these efforts was recognised when a partner organisation, Cybi Events, launched Holyhead Hero’s Award and received over 100 nominations for acts of selflessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. These individuals ranged from a 7-year-old who posted videos of herself dancing online to raise money for the NHS, to a couple in their seventies who picked up prescriptions for their neighbours who were shielding.
Môn Communities Forward is also working to support local businesses by running the Totally Local campaign Fiver Fest in the town, which is designed to increase consumer spending in local, independent shops. Participating businesses offer special £5 offers for a fortnight to generate more business for themselves, but also promote others in the area through ‘disloyalty cards’, maps and trails so that the whole high street can benefit.
As part of the Community Spirit self-assessment, the integration of ethnic minority groups into the wider community was identified as an area in need of improvement. It was also noted that the demand for mental health services has risen steeply as a result of COVID-19, which will put more strain on already very limited service provision.
Having seen such powerful collective action in the town since the outbreak began, Môn Community Forward intends to consult with other stakeholder organisations to identify any other issues which may be affecting the community as well of ways of working together to address them. They hope also to survey residents on their views about Holyhead’s community spirit when the national lockdown measures have eased so that they reach those who do not usually engage with the organisation and those who lack the equipment, skills or confidence to participate online.