Guest blog from Sarah Lattaway, CommUNITY Actions project lead at Middlesbrough Environment City (MEC)
I joined MEC amid the pandemic, and frankly with some trepidation. Having had my interview via teams I never met any of the staff I would be spending more time with than my own family, so you can understand my nervousness.
I soon discovered that no nerves were needed. I was met with a truly passionate, knowledgeable, and welcoming team who are doing amazing work to improve the lives of the people and tackle the climate crisis locally.
They were even happy to give me advice for my own garden within minutes of meeting me – however I don’t think they quite expected the number of questions I had (I’m sadly not talented in the gardening department, all of the will but no skill!)
I have taken over leading the CommUNITY Actions project, which supports the community to develop their own projects around health, wellbeing, and sustainability, and is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. The projects can be very flexible and is designed by the communities depending on what their passions and interests are.
During the lockdowns, the team developed online tutorials on cooking, cycling repairs and guided walks with an incredible 300,000+ interactions. And whilst we would always prefer face to face, this was a fantastic way of keeping that link to our communities during these tough times.
As we come out of lockdown and the world starts looking like ‘the old days’ we are looking to ramp up our community engagement again and meet with the amazing people of Middlesbrough.
I truly believe that the people of Middlesbrough and their resilience are our biggest asset, and we want the CommUNITY Actions project to empower people and give them the confidence to enhance their own communities, however they see fit.
We want to get out there and meet as many organisations, groups and individuals as possible to see how we can assist in anyway, so if you feel that this project could be beneficial for your group or the groups your support please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org 07940 786914.