Creating community links with SCDA Hailsham Sussex Community Development Association (SCDA) is an organisation based in East Sussex which supports projects that help the most vulnerable members of the community. As well as their main centre in Denton Island, they have local hubs across the area, including in North Street, Hailsham. In June 2019, the Hailsham Community Hub were one of the first groups to join our Community Links project – a project funded by The National Lottery Community Fund which aims to create a vibrant network of organisations and community groups across the hospice’s catchment area. The links may provide services and activities that may be of interest to our patients and families and it is also an opportunity to raise awareness of the hospice’s services, upcoming fundraising events and volunteering opportunities. Supporting the community The Hailsham Community Hub offers a number of services, including their Join Together Befriending Service and a Community Allotment in Battle Road. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team have adapted incredibly quickly and have been able to continue offering their services remotely. ‘It’s great to be able to carry on that community feel,’ said Michelle, Senior Community Development Worker. Their befriending service is the main project that they support, where volunteers will give an hour of their week talking to a member of the community who may be feeling lonely and isolated and building a relationship with them. ‘It’s as beneficial to the volunteers as it is for the clients,’ said Michelle. The need for this support has increased tremendously during the pandemic and as a result, the team have introduced a free counselling element to it, whereby the volunteers can refer the clients if they require extra support from a loss of any kind (a loss of a loved one, a loss of a job, a loss of their independence, etc). Their second project, the community allotment, has been running since Spring 2019 and has proven to be very successful. Although the project is supported by SCDA, it is run by members of the community, with a mix of genders and ages, from parents with pre-school children to people in their seventies. ‘It’s brilliant for wellbeing,’ said Michelle, ‘They don’t have to have the expertise, many of them learn from one another and there’s so much pride from growing your own produce and harvesting it yourself. The friendships that have been made have been amazing, too.’ Tailored support The support that SCDA offers is tailored to the individual and through this, there is a great amount of diversity represented by the organisation. As well as their main projects, they also offer Sunflower Lanyards for people with hidden disabilities, a Crochet & Chat group, an employment service, and they also have a school uniform donation station at the hub. A number of projects for 2021 are also in the pipeline. This is a very exciting time for the team, and for the Community Links project, too. Julie, Community Development Worker at the Hailsham Community Hub, said: ‘Working at the Hailsham Community Hub, we deal with a large array of enquires and no two days are the same. If we are unable to support somebody, it’s essential that we have a wider knowledge of current services, to make sure we are signposting to the correct information or organisation. It’s important for organisations to build relationships and work together as the continuous sharing of services is invaluable when supporting our community, which is why we are delighted to be part of the Community Links Project.’ Lucy, our Community Engagement Coordinator who runs the Community Links project, said: ‘SCDA in Hailsham were one of the very first organisations to join our Community Links project and it’s been really interesting to continue to learn about all the different services that they offer to the community, both at their Community Hub in Hailsham and across East Sussex.’ If your group or organisation would be interested in finding out more about the Community Links project please contact Lucy Cheshire via [email protected]. You can also visit the Community Links page on our website. Please note: St Wilfrid’s Hospice (Eastbourne) Ltd is keen to promote community links with other organisations and community groups and whilst the links on this page will take you to their respective websites, St Wilfrid’s Hospice (Eastbourne) Ltd is not responsible for the content of their websites or the practices of these groups/organisations. All other websites should have their own privacy notice/policy, and you are advised to refer to those accordingly.