The farmers' market in Wye

The farmers’ market in Wye

What do we want our community to be like? Is it a place we’d be happy to grow old in? How is it for people with young children? What can be done to make sure that younger generations look after those who are older?

Those are some of the questions addressed by the Our Place: Wye project during 2014-15. The village was given £30,000 by central government to come up with a plan to build on the excellent social structures that already exist in the village, to maybe build a model that can be imitated in other parts of the country.

The words on the grant application form were as follows. We said we wanted to “nurture a more age-inclusive community that is more resilient and responsive to the needs, age and social profile of the parish and stimulates a healthy, caring and sustainable community”.

As a result of a series of meetings in the village, the project identified various priorities for further funding:

  • people have expressed interest in a project based on food. This could possibly be a community cafe or some form of meals-on-wheels service. The community chef has already delivered one presentation/lunch in the village where ideas were discussed.
  • health and social care practitioners have been discussing the idea of a social care cooperative based in the village. This would involve the village commissioning its own health and social care provision and would necessitate a high degree of cooperation between private and public sector, voluntary groups, and paid and unpaid carers. In mid-December, Pat Conaty of Cooperatives UK came to the village to explain how it might work. You can see an interview with him here (extended version here).
  • we have also been exploring the idea of employing a community connector/ village agent. This would be an individual with responsibility of helping the village’s over-50s plan for their futures. You can read about village agents in Gloucestershire here.
  • we would like to support some intergenerational activities, both in the course of this project and beyond. We haven’t yet defined what these intergenerational activities will consist of.

Most of the £30,000, which was provided to write the plan, has now been spent. You can read about how things are likely to progress here.

While the project is owned by the parish council, it has benefited from the involvement of various significant partners:

Action for Communities in Rural Kent

Ashford NHS Clinical Commissioning Group

Ashford Carers

Kent County Council Adult Social Care Commissioners

Kent County Council Libraries

Wye Patient Participation Group

Wye School

Wye Surgery

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