Building better communities. It’s as easy as ABCD

Last night I attended a most enlightening and encouraging event put on by Mark Pocock and his fellow Community Builders. We had the chance to hear a variety of people talking about what they are passionate to see happen in their community and how they are setting about doing it.
There was Sally Cranch who told us of her plans to give youngsters trial work days at CentrePeace so they can see if they like working in a shop, or in a café. She would like to build up contacts in the community so they might try washing hair in a hairdressers or any other job which is suitable for them to try out. The important thing is that they do the work not just talk about it.
We heard from Peter Lang, a most inspiring man, who despite being paralysed down one side from a stroke, is raising funds by running a bric a brac shop. He wants to increase turnover to £5000 so that he can get charity status to support a small drop in centre for people with mental health problems.
Anthony Rayner talked of his plan to build a community database where people can tell their neighbours about good tradespeople and give feedback on how well their job was done.
We heard from Victoria Slaney and Paul Edmundson who have started the ES Foundation to help local people who need food, clothes or toiletries. They explained that Anode has strict rules about how many times a year anyone can access the foodbank and they want to help fill in the gaps that Anode cannot fill.
I shared my vision for Clutterbugs, a new self help group for people who have issues around clutter and hoarding which will be meeting at CentrePeace from January next year (20/1/14 from 9.30am to 11.00am).
This event, hosted by CentrePeace, a new community centre in Palace Avenue, Paignton was a valuable meeting of minds and hearts. People shared how they had found a home at CentrePeace. They may have arrived with needs but they soon discovered that they had skills which were valued, needed and used by CentrePeace.
One young man described how he had arrived in Paignton with no home, money or friends on the verge of suicide and now just 6 weeks later had been given love and a reason to go on. He described the centre as like a ‘big fluffy pillow’. As I left there, I knew he was right. CentrePeace is somewhere where the lost can be found. The hopeless can be given hope. It is a centre we can be proud of and I hope as a community we will support them and their mission.

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