The story of Winthorpe Community Partnership (WCP) told by Ms Jodi Bradbury. Resident co-ordinator of WCP

The Fact Find

  • Community Hub: Winthorpe Community Partnership (WCP)

  • Location: Linconshire

  • Residents: 6000

  • Strategic partners: Police, CCG, NHS, Local Council, Methodist Church, C2, Exeter University, Waterloo Housing, Education

  • Date 7-Steps began: 2012

Community led Health Creation in Lincolnshire

As a community led partnership, in a very disadvantaged part of Lincolnshire, we want to tell you about our story and the difference it’s made for all our residents, young, elderly and in between!! I will briefly tell my own story at the end of the journey I’ve made too.

In 2012 Winthorpe (nr Skegness) was a poorly connected community and statistics showed that it suffered multiple deprivation. What made it worse was that there were hardly any activities to connect our 5,000 residents socially. Levels of ill health and antisocial behaviour (ASB) mainly from young people with nothing to do, were high and made many people’s lives pretty miserable. Now, six years on, led by Winthorpe Community Partnership there is a wide range of really inclusive weekly support groups meeting needs of all our age groups. ASB levels have dropped and our local GP practice reports that fewer people attend surgeries and health & well-being are measurably improving.

This is how WCP started.

In 2012 we were introduced to the team from Connecting Communities, known as C2, by our local GP a member of the Clinical Commissioning group. They funded C2, based in Exeter, to support us over 2 years to deliver their 7-step programme that brings people who live in an area together with the people who work there, eg housing officers, police and public health. They work together as equals and step-by-step work towards becoming a community led partnership that meets regularly to meet the needs and solve problems of the local community.

This worked well in Winthorpe. Several of us attended a C2 residential event in Exeter where we saw for ourselves and met communities in Cornwall & Devon who’d transformed where they live using the 7 Steps. We learnt how to listen to the whole community, which we have been doing ever since reaching Step 7 and becoming Winthorpe Community Partnership in 2013. Almost straightaway we were offered free use of an old Methodist Church building in the heart of where we live as a community Hub for meetings and all activities. C2’s young people’s community dance team from Camborne Cornwall, the TR14ers have visited us 3 times to inspire our very own young people’s dance group.

Seven years on we are a Charitable Incorporated Organisation and I now have a 2yr funded role as co-ordinator which I had to apply for from the WCP board of trustees, funded by Tudor Trust. Previously to this I had 2 years funding through public health and our local CCG. I’ve also discovered a talent I didn’t know I had for writing successful funding bids! These are just some of our achievements so far and there’s plenty more in the pipeline including a new purpose built Community Centre.

At our Community centre we have A ‘First Steps’ parent & toddler group, a youth club & skate park, ‘knit & natter’ group, the ‘C’ word (cancer support group) Puffin Club (for COPD sufferers), Creative Minds (craft club), The Art Group and Seniors lunch club and a Dog Walkers group. A group called S.A.D. Skegness Anxiety & Depression, who want to run a community café, started last year. Alongside these are regular well-attended community events, Fun Days and an annual celebration event that is FREE for the whole community. WCP also has great relationship with local schools who we visit regularly.

Because activities are run and managed by the community, for the community, numbers attending all activities are high and we know that our whole community benefits now.

And this is my personal story…..

I moved to Winthorpe 17 years ago as a single parent to my two year old daughter Chloe. I live just behind the Community centre in a small cul-de-sac. Back then it wasn’t a very nice place to live, loads of ASB, Drug use and selling right on my door step. Police were there most days. I was a ‘mouse’, I kept myself to my self and stayed in my house. I didn’t feel that I could do anything to change what was going on around me.

In 2008 I met my now partner Carl, he was out going and good at talking to people. We went on to have a daughter together, Izzy-mai.

In 2011 we had a stall at the Jubilee celebration on the park ran by the local residents association, that’s how we became involved. We started volunteering at the youth club, we made new friends and I quickly got more involved with the centre. Opening and closing for activities and sending emails (something I had never really needed to do before) I soon became the Secretary.

It gave me a purpose, I felt like I was doing something important.

In 2012 we were given the opportunity to go to Exeter and see all about the C2 story. It was inspiring, I came back with a ‘fire in my belly’ to do more. The Partnership was born.

I was attending regular meetings, learning new things all the time and I really enjoyed it. Still nervous but gradually growing in confidence and finding my voice.

Thanks to Public health (Paul Johnson) and our local CCG, who completely got what we were trying to do, they created a job role for a Community coordinator. I went for it and some how got it!

That’s when things really changed for me.

As part of my contract I had to learn to drive, it took me a year but I passed first time. It is one of the best things I have ever done for myself and my family.

I actually have a “proper job” doing something that I love and that doesn’t feel like a job. Not many people can say that!

I attend meetings with the council and other service providers, I talk freely to strangers who come to me asking for help.

My community is able to ask me for help to set things up and actually make a difference to so many people. Its a great feeling.

We are now getting bigger and stronger with what we do here, voices are being heard and listened to. We’ve won several awards too, including NHS & local Business of the year award! Winthorpe is a great place to live and will continue to be whilst we all keep working together. There are many other great stories like mine in Winthorpe because of what we’ve achieved together with our partners, and proves what can happen when health is created and led locally ‘by the people for the people.’ If you had told me 10 years ago that this would happen I wouldn’t have believed you , but I have definitely realized that life is what you make it, so lets make it GREAT FOR OUR WHOLE COMMUNITY!!