Through our facilitation of the Cambridgeshire Community Hub Network, we have come to understand that some people living in rural communities don’t always have access to the advice and support services they need. Sometimes this is because they don’t know where to start their journey and sometimes it’s because they don’t believe they’re entitled to those services or support.
Our new Village Agents, based in Fenland and South Cambridgeshire, provide help, support and solutions for the health and social care needs of these rural residents. They can connect and signpost people who might be missing out, with the services that might make their lives easier and better.
We have chosen our Village Agents for their exceptional ‘people skills’. They use these skills to make themselves known in the communities they serve by visiting community groups, attending events and through using online awareness raising activities enabling them to build their knowledge of their local communities and what goes on there.
Village Agents have a regular presence in the community hubs and provide outreach from local community hubs in the communities, supporting those that are experiencing unmet needs and helping those people, where they can, to attend hubs where they will receive a warm welcome. They also support the community volunteers who run the hubs, helping them to continue to develop and expand their offering.
The team includes:
- Adele Furness, Village Agent (South Cambridgeshire) – Adele has worked for many years in sales and business development for cosmetic aesthetic products and medical equipment. She’s excited to bring her many transferable skills to this new area of work.
- Angela Stibbs, Village Agent (South Cambridgeshire) – Angela worked as an estate agent in Cambridge for over 35 years and so is well-equipped with listening and problem solving skills, both skills she will use in her role.
- Lucille Bingham, Village Agent (Fenland) – Lucille has worked in the customer service industry for over 20 years and loves being able to support, help and point people in the right direction to support their needs.
- Kelly Bloss, Village Agent (Fenland) – Kelly’s a former professional photographer who’s returning to work after a period bringing up her son. Kelly’s keen to make a difference in her local community and is looking forward to getting to grips with the Village Agent role.
The team and their work will be overseen by our new Community Wellbeing Manager, Rachel Mason, who has joined us from Voiceability, a national advocacy charity. Having worked both nationally and locally, Rachel has a wealth of management experience and a sound appreciation of the different issues faced by people across rural communities in Cambridgeshire. She’s relishing the opportunity to work locally once more in the promotion of better health and social care across the county.
Cambridgeshire ACRE’s Village Agents are funded differently in Fenland and South Cambridgeshire. In Fenland, the Village Agents are funded through the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Know Your Neighbourhood Fund. In South Cambridgeshire, the Village Agents are funded by South Cambridgeshire District Council using money provided by the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Integrated Care System’s South Place Partnership.
If you’d like to find out more about the Village Agents and the work they will do, please contact Rachel Mason, Community Wellbeing Manager, email@example.com.