three people are standing next to each other

“I think in the future there is going to be more of a sense of togetherness,” said Marvin Molloy (centre) as we respond to coronavirus measures.  Lisa Tomkinson (left) and Gill Jones (right)

The C2 family network of Hubs has been responding to how the coronavirus measures are changing the face of their work. As the environment has changed, so too has their approach. But what they do is still needed, perhaps even more so. We caught up with community developer Marvin Molloy, of Community Ventures, in Stoke-on-Trent.

Marvin and his colleagues Lisa Tomkinson and Gill Jones are well known and loved by all of us having applied C2 learning and principles in Stoke since 2011 with some amazing outcomes in multiple communities.

Coronavirus measures

After a bout of self-isolation following debilitating symptoms, the normally super-fit Marvin was looking to the future, and how that would change the shape of the work he does in the community.

In recent years Marvin has taken a diversion from community empowerment to work with young people in schools and job centres, building up confidence and employability. That mentoring is going to have to change shape he said, at least for the time being. A great demonstration of resilient evolution and his ongoing commitment to this sector.

Young people

“The way I normally teach will have to be completely different. When I’m feeling a little bit better, we’re going to do some recording,” he said, indicating that his engagement work would have to explore the online world.

“I think that’s where we’re going to start to turn our focus,” he said.


Marvin is also going to build on long-held academic links by offering his new online mentorship programme to Staffordshire University, who know and trust his C2 based work with Gill and Lisa, which has contributed to research there since 2012.

“Working for so long with young people, I can see they are going through so much uncertainty at the moment. This is a different experience,” he said.

Dealing with change

“The programmes that we’ve developed are really good for helping them to deal with change and how to tackle this and feel better. And to help them understand why they feel confused. So we will be putting content together to help them and many other people.”

Young people can be in a bubble, said Marvin. They are supported by their friends and their activities. But the COVID-19 environment takes that away from them.

“It’s an uncertain and difficult time for them,” said Marvin.

That enforced separation from the outside world is highlighting aspects of society that are easily missed, taken for granted or overlooked.

Celebrate community

“Once it’s over, this is going to be a perfect opportunity to be ready to celebrate how important it is to be a community and for people to come together,” said Marvin.

“I don’t know all my neighbours,” he said. But now everybody is at home going through the same things.

Long-term benefit

“It could be a long-term benefit for everybody to slow down and take stock. I think in the future there is going to be more of a sense of togetherness.

“I get the feeling that once things are back up and running there’s going to be a huge demand for more community-type interventions like C2, for outreach and healthy activities.”