#WordFromTheThird Podcast – Building Healthy & Resilient Communities Together

The public sector can be guilty of talking about our ‘communities’ as if they were simply places where the Council, the health board, or the Police deliver services to people.

But that’s clearly not the case. A community is somewhere where people live, they work, they chat to their neighbours about what’s going on. They go to classes, send their kids to school, and talk to others about what’s going well in their area, and what’s not going so well. They keep an eye on those in need and know when someone’s starting to struggle.

There are many relationships, resources and activities within communities that keep people well. These include the green spaces, sports clubs and allotment associations that get us outside and active, the coffee mornings, quiz nights and local groups that connect us with others and the more formal hubs that people can reach into if they need some support with meeting basic needs.

When the Covid pandemic hit in 2020 it wasn’t governments that were the first to react, it was communities. People shopped for their neighbours, collected medicines for the vulnerable and, when things were starting to improve, organised street parties and celebrations. For every professional referral there are hundreds of occasions where a friend, neighbour or relative “just pops in for a chat and to check everything’s okay”.

And this is important because communities which look out for one another, which participate in public life, which pull together when times are tough, are significantly healthier than communities which are disjointed, disillusioned and disempowered. So rather than seeing ourselves as service providers, our job (in the third sector, and in the public sector) should be much more about how we help our communities to become more resilient, more engaged and, as a result, healthier.

So, Word from the Third will explore why these matters, what we can each do about it, where we can work together, and the difference it can make to peoples’ lives.
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