Guest blogpost from Community Link Officer, Nia Jenkins

Our Connected Community Link Officer, Nia Jenkins, shares her thoughts 3 months into her role.

It’s been a tumultuous time for us all over the past few months, with vaccinations and the lifting of regulations dominating our lives. Things have steadily progressed in the right direction from where we were this time last year, but it’s still a time of caution and uncertainty.

The Connected Community project has also had to adjust its parameters to fit into this new place in our history. When we all met at The Hub in the Pub at the Artromont Arms back in December 2019, we were making plans to further connect our existing community groups and engage active members in the ways in which we were used to; face to face, organising events and fundraisers, discussing how best to elevate our ongoing efforts. Little did we know then that the pandemic would change everything, including what it means to be a connected community. Some of our best laid plans had to take a back seat while we gave way to lockdowns and social distancing. This has, however, afforded us invaluable time to clarify what it is that a thriving, successful rural community needs to be self-sufficient at a time when staying connected is at the forefront of all of our minds.

What I’ve learned over the last few months of talking with community leaders and members of the public who’ve shown an interest in our project is that coronavirus has focused our attention on working together. I’ve also learned that getting people to work together is not always easy – we’re all used to our own community group and our own village, and putting aside the differences in the way things are run from one hamlet to the next can be tricky at the best of times.

I’ve also discovered a sense of expectation that someone should be doing something about issues within our community, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised that it seems that the facilitation for growth that the Connected Community project can offer is just what’s needed.

Our project is about gathering the collective strengths of the residents of Llanrhian parish and beyond and creating a sustainable, reliable community who pull together to facilitate positive change. Lockdown has meant that the nice events we had planned will have to wait, but in the meantime we’re open to discussions about how we can help to get our community groups active again and for each of us to come out of isolation and into the community as a unified group, ready to support each other’s wellbeing and future endeavours.

“Our project is about gathering the collective strengths of the parish and creating a sustainable, reliable community who pull together to facilitate positive change”

We’re looking forward to launching a Llanrhian Connected Community website in the next few weeks, but in the meantime, please follow the Facebook page and contact us if you’d be interested in contributing to the Facebook posts or becoming a Community Contributor for Llais Rhian and our website. if you’d like to contact me to discuss how the project can work for you, please email me at niajenkins@hotmail.com or call 07867475846 for a community chat on Thursdays.

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