Community working in partnership helps win award

The Active Wellbeing Society (TAWS) has been awarded ‘Best Community Initiative- West Midlands’ in Corporate Vision Magazine’s 2020 Small Business Awards. Corporate Vision is a digital platform to support and guide better business practices. TAWS is thrilled to receive this award which recognises our work during 2020, and more specifically as part of #BrumTogether.

In March 2020, the #BrumTogether campaign started and soon gathered speed, growing to involve over 80 community partners who all wanted to step up and help others. Groups came from all sectors across the city- including education, religious, local authority, and community groups- all with the common goal of wanting to help those most in need. This was supported by 845 volunteers who all wanted to ensure that help was always available wherever someone was in the city.

Bringing together like-minded organisations and individuals, the network encouraged the city’s systems to work together in a new way, helping shape the community initiatives to be the most effective, inclusive, and supportive they could be.

A new sharing mindset soon took hold. Whilst food was scarce, organisations shared resources across the city, as well as their local knowledge and insight into the scale and emerging needs in the different areas of the city. With many new groups set up during the pandemic and established organisations moving into new areas of work often for the first time- collaborative working was key.

The #BrumTogether campaign saw members of the community starting to believe ‘we’re in this together’ and were keen to help wherever and however they could. Whilst some set up street level food donation initiatives, others offered their skills and time to help pack and distribute over 62,000 food parcels and cook over 22,000 meals for the most vulnerable.

Using insight from communities on the ground, the network worked flexibly to adapt to the changing situation and the type of support the community needed at the time. New services launched such as befriending phonelines, free clothing, dignity packs and bikes for key workers. Cross-sector working meant a range of services could be offered that were interconnected and complimented each other. This approach was vital in being able to support so many citizens, in a holistic way.

Over time, many emergency initiatives have evolved into longer term projects- such as the creation of a new Food Justice Network which brings together key players and citizens enthusiastic to see lasting change to the city’s food system.

The #BrumTogether campaign and network has shown that by different systems working together in a collaborative, rather than competitive way, we can all contribute to tackling social inequalities- using community responses led by local insight, shared values and kindness.

Find out more about how communities and volunteers came together in the #BrumTogether film below.

Rachel Hall
Author: Rachel Hall