Case Study: Community Links
Hillhouse is a council-built housing estate on the western border of Hamilton in South Lanarkshire. The first houses in this area were built in the 1950s. A number of original families still reside in the area and the majority of people are from a working class background. People in the area are friendly, but only a small number of them are actively involved in their community; however, those that are, are dedicated. For example, their community council runs a successful gala day every year.
Donna Stevens has been a volunteer at the Hillhouse Food Co-operative for approximately two years. Donna lives near Hillhouse in an area of Hamilton locally known as Udston.
SIMD shows that the Hillhouse area is one of the most deprived areas in Scotland. Unemployment, low income and low levels of skills and education are the main issues here.
"The area that I live in is relatively quiet and has friendly people and a good local bus service. But I don't think there is enough things for kids to do and have heard about dangerous things that have happened nearby so I am frightened to let my kids out."
Community Links have been working to tackle disadvantage in the Hillhouse area for a number of years.
They visited many local doorsteps at the beginning of their work where they had some great conversations with local people about their area and community. Since then, they have introduced the "Hillhouse Community Hub", where they offer weekly services such as the SELECT Employability Project, Hillhouse Food Co-operative and Hillhouse Community Cafe.
Community Links also support and co-ordinate additional local activities including cookery sessions, family activities during school holidays, Christmas parties, Easter events and local community events organised by other local groups and organisations.
All of the local activities are community driven and made possible by local volunteers like Donna and Angela:
"I enjoy setting up the food co-op and meeting new people - it helps to motivate me to come out of the house."
"I find Community Links great to work with - they are very helpful and friendly. Volunteering gives me great satisfaction and support and has led to new friendships as well as a large boost in my confidence. Meeting new people through volunteering has got me out of the house because before I was very isolated."
Email: Alastair McAlpine, firstname.lastname@example.org