What is community engagement?
The ethos at the very heart of Alt Valley Community Trust is to improve the lives of local people through a variety of different methods. One such method is to use the community engagement model that aims to empower local people to make decisions, implement change and improve the quality of their lives through direct local action.
We aim to offer opportunities for people to come together, get to know each other, discuss their needs and think about ways to go about improving their lives. We can support them through a process of change that will empower them and build their confidence which in turn will have a profound effect on their local community. Broadly speaking we do this by:
- Engaging with local people through our team of Community Champions
- Working in partnership with other agencies to address the needs of local people
- Improving community based resources
- Empowering people by involving them in drama, creative writing, short courses and various other informal educational opportunities.
Alt Valley Community Trust currently have a team of Community Champions who work with individuals, families and local communities to empower them to bring about social change and improve the quality of their lives.
A Community Champion often acts as a link between communities and a range of other local authority and voluntary sector providers. They are frequently involved in addressing inequality and their work often target communities perceived to be culturally, economically or geographically disadvantaged.
A Community Champion will initially spend time developing relationships with local people and assessing their needs. Some people may simply need to be signposted on to another agency while others may like to get involved in local community activities such as drama, sport, adult education or support in establishing their own community interest group.
A Community Champion will provide a flexible approach in supporting local people in whatever it is they want to achieve. We very much believe in working with the needs of local people (a bottom up approach) rather than providing services that others feel ought to be imposed on people (a top down approach).
► The Communiversity
The Communiversity is based in the centre of Croxteth, in addition to being the head office for AVCT is also home to the following:
Croxteth Community Library
The library is run by Ted Guy and Lesley Mitchell, in addition to the lending facilities the library has an active ‘Book Club’ run by local volunteers, Children’s Storytime, and a basic English class for people with learning difficulties.
The cafe is open to all of the community, to eat in or takeaway freshly prepared healthy food. Partner agencies also use the cafe as a meeting place for community activities, i.e. ‘Walk and Talk’ community walks, Cass Foundation, Warm Homes events for older people, LCC and Business Start Up advice from the Women’s Organisation.
The Communiversity offers a wide range of non-accredited adult learning taster sessions, including Committee Skills Training for local Tenant groups.
Drama Classes for Children
Drama for children aged 8-18 are held each Wednesday evening and Saturday morning. The children perform in various venues across Alt Valley and the wider community to promote Social Change.
Community Clothes Swap Shop
The Swap Shop is run by volunteers offers free clothing and is an excellent resource for the community.
Conference Room Hire
The Communiversity boasts two conference rooms and smaller offices for hire, and is regularly booked by partner organisations; NHS, RSL’s, Fire Service, LCC.
► Dovecot MAC
Regular Events Timetable
9:00am – 3:30pm
Study Programme Level2
10:00am – 4:00pm
Riverside Digital Hub Job Club
12:00pm – 2:00pm
Mosaic for Beginners
|No Scheduled Events||No Scheduled Events|
IT for Employment
No Scheduled Events
11-19 years old
|Wednesday||9.00am – 3.30pm
Playwork L2 & L3
9:15am – 11:15am
1hour Metafit class & 1hour group support
10:15am – 11:15am
|12:00pm – 2:00pm
Pensioners Lunch Club
Lunch and activities £2.00 charge
L2 & L3 Early Years Education
Dovecot Fairshare Cafe
Advice, help and support
10:15am – 11:15am
|1:00pm – 3:00pm
Singing and physical exercise for children aged 0-4 years.
ActiveMe Physical Fitness Session
|No Scheduled Events|
|No Scheduled Events||No Scheduled Events|
Our Work in the Local Community
► Norris Green
The Community Champions work with many groups across Norris Green. Some of the groups we are currently supporting are ‘The Bowley Residents and Tenants society’, ‘Risbury Road Tenants and Residents’ and ‘Friends of Scargreen’. We offer support on a number of different levels whether it is Committee skills training, help with fundraising or supporting the planning, organising and delivery of events and activities in Norris Green.
We also work in partnership with many agencies in the area including Cobalt Housing, Liverpool City Council Neighbourhood Services, Local Ward Councillors and Merseyside Police. The area has seen a vast improvement over the last few years in regards to Anti-Social behaviour and Community Cohesion with more residents becoming involved.
We are currently supporting Hebden Children’s Group, The Stonedale Women’s Group and the Invergarry Residents Association all based in the Croxteth area. Hebden and Stonedale generally provided activities for children and young people and their families and we help support them in this. We also offer the groups help with completing funding applications, supporting activities and events or Committee skills training.
Groups in both Norris Green and Croxteth are now keen to join forces and organise a big event across both wards to bring together the two communities.
As with Norris Green some of the most successful work has been done in partnership with other local agencies such as Cobalt Housing, Liverpool City Council Neighbourhood Services, Local Ward Councillors and Merseyside Police.
Working in Partnership
Alt Valley Community Trust works together with a number of different agencies so as to maximise the impact of our community development work with local people.
Together we run meetings, events and conferences in order to increase the opportunities for people to actively participate in improving their lives and the lives of those in their community.
We believe it is important to share local knowledge and information, link up whenever possible and avoid duplication of services. Through our regular community engagement meetings we aim to provide services that are informed by a community who is aware of what other agencies are doing in the local area. This will eradicate competition and allow for a more effective use of local resources.
Some of the partners we work alongside include the following:
- Local tenants groups
- Local Residents
- Liverpool City Council (LCC)
- Cobalt Housing
- Social Services
- The Police
- Local Schools
- Local Councillors
- Hope University
- Liverpool Council for Voluntary Services (LCVS)
- Dovecot Neighbourhood Council
- Numerous local voluntary organisations
Community Based Resources
We believe that local people have a right to access good quality services such as schools, hospitals, sports and well-being facilities, community centres, library services, IT provision and access to creative & leisure activities.
As the current government’s austerity agenda continues to impact on local authorities we are seeing these vital services being either watered down or lost completely to our local neighbourhoods. Here at Alt Valley Community Trust we try to counteract these closures by taking over and running these services for ourselves. For example AVCT has taken over the lifestyles centre at Croxteth and Walton Hall Park. We also run the only community library in Liverpool based at Croxteth and we are currently in discussions with Liverpool Council to save Dovecot library. We have also taken over some community resource centres such as the Dovecot Multi Activity Centre which was due to close in April 2014. Our aim is to develop these centres into sustainable local resources that will generate income while providing valuable local services for the community.