A day in the life of a Neighbourhood office – MESH

8.30Neighbourhood Manager Julie arrives at the office. She checks phone messages and emails, sets up rooms, updates social media accounts and fills the coffee urn ready for the busy day ahead.

9.15 – Resident Nobby pops into the office to have a quick chat with Community Development Worker Dean and Life Connector Nancy before the Walking Football session begins. Nancy has been supporting him as he manages a relationship breakdown, whilst he’s working with Dean on a new community project; Nobby wants to share updates with them both. At 9.30 he joins his teammates in the gym, where Go Geronimo have arrived to deliver the walking football session.

10.00Training Connector Tim arrives, and so do the residents attending his Basic English course, they head off into the training room.

10.20 – Resident Sally pops her head into the door to say needs help using the Community Cafe computer access her Universal Credit account. Community Connector Julie goes with her shows her how to find the website.

11.00 – Resident Leon arrives and needs some advice on his housing benefit, Julie introduces him to Multi-Disciplinary Worker James, who has been in the MESH office working with another resident.

12.00 – People come out of the Basic English course and proudly show their work to those in the office, everybody is impressed by the progress the learners have made.

12.35Volunteer Coordinator Jo pops into the office to say she has arranged to meet a resident in the community cafe at 12.45; she asks office staff to send her straight round.

1.00Skills Connector Donna and Community Connector Catherine have set up the computers in the training room and people begin to arrive for the job club. Donna spends some time helping someone with a tricky job application form.

1.15 – A resident that the MESH team haven’t met before comes into the office to ask for a food voucher, he speaks to Neighbourhood Manager Julie. Julie brings Life Connector Nancy into the conversation because she recognises that Nancy could support him as he seeks to regain some stability in his life. Nancy chats with him and arranges a follow up meeting. Julie gives him the voucher and tells him about the free community lunch available at Gorleston Baptist Church’s outreach project, The Well.

2.00 – Residents arrive for the companionship club, they call into the office to collect the room key and to the community cafe to collect sandwiches. Community Connector Julie has prepared a quiz as a way to open conversations with people in the club.

4.30 – Donna makes sure the answer phone is switched on so residents have a point of contact when the office is closed.

No two days in the office are the same, and every day brings new and unexpected challenges. MESH sees on average 30 people per day, actively supports 45 community groups and helped them access £232,411.20 of funding over the last year. The team is overseen by a board, half of which are local residents. The board ensures that the team’s priorities are dictated by local people and that they are able to respond to the most pressing needs of the community.

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