In subsequent years the partnership has kept going, though energy has ebbed & flowed particularly with the impact of austerity and shifts in working practices of organisations which have made service provision less accessible to this town .
Back in 2016 TCP were chosen as one of only 20 communities nationally in the Placed Based Social Action programme with the National Lottery. This programme provided a fresh impetus from this passionate, energetic and close-knit community who brought back to the forefront the very same issues faced over 11 years previously, with underlying issues of hidden poverty and the new depth of disconnection between service providers and those in the community needing help and support. The partnership has been reignited with significant influence and new energy coming from self-funded charity Dartmouth Community Chest and the community identifying the need for their own hub space (s) to meet and to get support locally from key services.
The partnership now has a new name – TQ6 Community Partnership – still TCP – but breaking down barriers of the divisions felt in this community between top and bottom of town that often brought challenges – helping to promote that we are all one town
The next chapter has already started and soon there will be a dedicated community hub, providing a safe, informal and community owned space and direct access to services and a visible presence in the town
The Friday ‘Hub at the hall’ sessions is bringing key services back into the community and providing a space for local people, both old and young, to meet up with each other, all over a cup of tea and hot food.
Another key part of this next chapter are the new Town Councillors who stood because of the underrepresentation of a large part of the town. A group of local residents from all walks of life, felt change was desperately needed so they formed the Dartmouth Initiative Group (DIG) with a collective goal to make the town better and fairer for all and to bring back much needed services. They won 11 of the 16 seats and so with a majority can start to drive forward the changes that the community are asking for.
An article in the Guardian says:
‘In May’s town council elections, 11 of Dartmouth’s 16 seats were won by the new Dartmouth Initiative Group (DIG). Its most vocal representative is Dawn Shepherd, who moved there from Wolverhampton 15 years ago. Her journey to public office began when she started the local food bank. “There’s a lot of poverty here,” she says. “And, on top of that, where we are is like an island. We have no Job Centre, so it is £6 each time on the bus. Having to go somewhere else for everything adds to the poverty.’
Thomas Guy visited the Community Hub one Friday at Townstal Community Hall. He was hearted by the continued efforts of the community to look out for its members.