Updated: Jun 14
During the last 9 months, we have been exploring and asking how Live Naturally has benefited the community in the past and what people need in the future. Alongside this we have been working on a new grant application from HPC, the funding of which will enable us to improve, coordinate and tailor-make our community projects to what the community want. The funding will also make Live Naturally more sustainable with online healthy eating courses. We will hear back regarding the funding in February 2023.
To find out what the community most wanted, we have hosted a range of community engagement projects over the last few months. During each of these community engagement events, we discussed the positive and negative impacts experienced by developments at Hinkley Point C. We wanted to know what families in our local community thought we could do to mitigate these residual and intangible impacts in the future.
In November 2022 we held our largest community engagement event so far with over 100 participants. It was a great opportunity for the local community to engage and give their feedback on our current project goals and plans. In addition to doing large community events, we have also arranged some smaller focus groups for a wide variety of age groups from young children to senior citizens. During our focus groups, we connected with many other professionals and fellow organisations working within the community. We told them about our plans for Live Naturally and we had an overwhelmingly positive response. They were interested in hearing about our project plans and many confirmed our belief that resources for healthy eating were lacking in our community. It's been so heartwarming to have received so many letters of support from professionals and organisations working within the community like Mind in Somerset, Spark, Chard Watch CIC, SASP, Somerset Skills and Learning and many more!
What we have learned from these community engagement projects is that our community really value our work and would like to see lots more healthy lifestyle projects in the future. Residents have expressed that they feel more stressed now due to lots of traffic, a lack of sense of community, high rent prices and the increased population due to the Hinkley Point C Site. How they will like to see us help mitigate these stressors is projects which help destress, for example, more walking projects and healthy eating projects.
In the focus groups, the children said they would like to see more holiday activities and more baking projects. The young people aged 13-25 wanted more projects like The Dream Scheme where they could do volunteer work and save up points towards trips. Parents would like to know more about how to cook healthy food on a budget. The senior group wanted knowledge of what food to eat to use as preventatives and restoratives for their health.
Another way we received feedback from the community was by giving participants from all our various projects a feedback form to complete at the end of the course/activity. It was encouraging to see that last year, our questionnaire revealed 328 people felt they benefited from attending one or more of our courses and they would return in the future.
Below you can see some photos from some of our community engagement projects. It has been heartwarming to read the letters of support received on these events from individuals as well as statutory and non-statutory organisations. We look forward to keeping you updated in February, to let us know if our Hinkley Point C application has succeeded!