The mantra at the heart of Kids Inspire: it takes a village to raise a child.
You have probably heard the saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’? Well, this is the mantra at the heart of the Kids Inspire Community Engagement Strategy – a plan to create a social movement of local people who are not only supportive of the work of the charity but who also have a commitment to facilitating community-based action. Inspiring and training Community Engagement Volunteers is a major part of the Kids Inspire Community Engagement strategy.
Kids Inspire is a registered charity, founded in 2007 by CEO and Clinical Director Sue Bell. The charity is based in Chelmsford and works with children and young people from across Essex and beyond.
One of the commonly recognised five steps to positive mental wellbeing is to ‘Give to others’ and what better way to do this than to volunteer for a local organisation with a difference. Read on to find out more about the need for, and the role of, our CEVs.
Fear can paralyse community action
Fear is a strong aspect of our social lives currently, what with COVID and reports on adult predators of children. Such fear can paralyse community action, with health and safety requirements blocking action rather than facilitating it. Adults are often nervous about getting involved in cross-generational community activities for fear of breaching procedures; children spend their time alone in front of a screen for fear of others. The result is isolation and loneliness – an acknowledged problem in Essex.
One result of this anxiety and fear is that local people feel they should leave social problems to the experts; that they have no place in sorting things out, even though they have concerns about the children and young people in their area. This can lead to adults not to see issues, not to react, which leads back into the negative cycle of fear and frustration and ultimately, disempowerment. Taking personal responsibility to act in this situation can seem problematic. And yet, we know that it takes a village to raise a child, with children learning through the different relationships they have.
Lively and dynamic communities
The very nature of the expertise in Kids Inspire has led to a recognition that this sense of disempowerment is harmful for everyone, including children and young people. We need communities that are lively and dynamic, with a sense of agency, with cross-generational interactions beyond families, to enable our young people to develop resilience and wellbeing. The social context of young peoples’ lives is a vital aspect of their healthy social development.
The role of Community Engagement Volunteers
And this is where inspired, fully trained Community Engagement Volunteers (CEVs) come into play – we are recruiting now – come and join us!
CEVs understand the concept of it taking a village to raise a child, and their work will help develop communities that effectively become those villages.
CEVs will be the eyes and ears of Kids Inspire, out in the communities of Essex. They listen to what local people have to say about children and young people and encourage friends and neighbours to get actively involved, in fundraising yes, but also as mentors, directly building a relationship with a young person; leading on community organising to develop community activities, teaching young people their skills, drawing out talents in song-writing, storytelling, filmmaking.
By building that village concept, CEVs and their associates are more able to address concerns from concerns about parental abuse and neglect, local drug abuse and drug gangs, mental health issues, and a host of other potential issues that early interventions may help to resolve.
If a CEV sounds like you and you’d like to ‘give to others’ while also nurturing your own mental health, then please consider getting in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Engagement Officer, Kids Inspire