Concord Youth Music in Sheffield started in 1984 as a competitive marching band, but they withdrew from competition six years ago to explore different ways to make music. Now members range in age from 8-years-old to “when they don’t want to do it any longer”. Volunteers, including Concord graduates, help young people to play, dance, read music, perform and, in concert, to develop social skills. There’s still a marching band, but it’s been joined by brass, percussion, guitars, keyboards, a samba band and even a ceremonial fanfare team, available for hire for weddings, events and functions.
Action Housing and Support’s Hope Strategy, which is based in Sheffield, offers real on-site work experience to disadvantaged people giving them training and work experience, which helps to build their confidence and employability. They, in turn, renovate properties to increase the local housing stock available for vulnerable people to rent. Hope is indeed “for the community, in the community”.
Peregrin Way TARA does exactly what it says on the tin. It is a TARA – a group made up of local people acting in a voluntary capacity to promote and defend the interests of tenants and residents in their area of Rotherham. This is very much a self-help organisation and they use their very wide range of activities to not only fund themselves but to also contribute to other charities. Its outreach and pro-active style is quite distinctive and it goes far beyond events to occupy people’s time into active, responsive work throughout this community of largely sheltered housing.
Edlington Community Organisation has brought together people from a wide range of groups in the former mining villages of Edlington and Warmsworth to support community-based organisations and their activities. The organisation is different from many community groups, because it is not only active as a body in its own right but is also the ‘hub’ for many local community organisations. Activities range from drug awareness campaigns and positive-action groups to race nights and tea dances. The community charity gives a local voice for local people and offers local people local services.
Harley Village Partnership, in South Yorkshire, is a good example of community self-help. Football, cricket, the gala group, the social club, the church and the allotment society, are all represented on the management committee. The aim is to maintain ‘village life’ for present and future generations. They do this in a multitude of ways, village Christmas tree and carols, an annual bonfire, day trips for children and OAPs, a film club and much, much more. The partnership is truly a community working in the community.
Worsbrough Common Community Association – “Worsbrough Common deserves better than this,” said a resident back in 2000 and so the Community Association set about improving things. Initially, this was by first providing children and young people with activities to keep them off the streets, by motivating families to have a pride in the area and by bettering the lives of elderly residents. Now, the Association is pivotal in community affairs, providing information and advice and acting as a link to other organisations, like the police and housing associations. It also supports and provides local community projects, including Zumba, Pilates, Boxercise, Singing for Fun and Healthy Bones.
Aspergers Youth Club, based in Doncaster, is a club specifically for young people with aspergers where they can socialise, “be themselves” and not be judged. They meet weekly in term-time for all sorts of activities and days out. As importantly, parents and carers meet for mutual support, but in a separate room. The Club, with members aged from eight to ‘whatever’, deals with an often very distressing condition where sufferers have difficulty in social interaction. It also helps parents who need reassurance and personal support.