Community Volunteering Action (COVA)

The COVA project is currently running in four streets in Barwell with the aim of supporting local residents to bring forward their own ideas and suggestions for improving their community.

The COVA project is currently running in four streets in Barwell with the aim of supporting local residents to bring forward their own ideas and suggestions for improving their community.

Leicestershire County Council (LCC) Communities Team, Local Area Coordinator (LAC), local Parish Council, Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council and the local Police (PCSO) are working with residents providing assistance such as coaching and logistic support, organising meetings, facilitating conversations amongst residents and coordination of next steps.

It is hoped that by working together across agencies, dedicating quality time to the community and providing clear co-ordinated advice the project will empower and support residents in their efforts to make their own decisions to mobilise existing skills to improve their local area.

Community Volunteering Action is a new way to maximise what communities and residents in particular are able to offer; their expertise, their time and their knowledge about their own community, using an asset based approach.

On a survey conducted in 2017 in the area, 90% responded they wanted to do something in their local community, showing a great interest in the area they live.

Partially, as a result of the survey and the engagement that followed with residents in the area, a small group of residents are now engaged in regular meetings to take forward plans to deliver a robust Neighbourhood Watch programme and link with other schemes that can offer relevant advice and support to local residents. This is the first Neighbourhood Watch scheme to operate in the area in many years!

At the same time, the first Sunflower Competition took place on September 2017. This was the first time the community came together in a while to celebrate.

Finally, there are plans to organise a street party in the area. Some of the initial community members that started COVA and new ones expressed an interest in doing a street party for summer 2018 to celebrate togetherness.

Wed, 28 Mar 2018
Community Volunteering Action (COVA)
Juan Pardo
Juan Pardo


Sample of craft products produced by local residents to support vulnerable individuals from different neurodiverse conditions

Sunny Skies Enterprise CIC - supports adults with learning disabilities to learn valuable work and life skills.

Due to Covid-19 they had to close their doors but to ensure they were able to support the people they work with, they applied for a Leicestershire Communities Fund grant and were awarded £540 to deliver video online sessions with their members and a series of craft activities that were provided to support their members in their daily life. Through Zoom sessions with their members they also run dance and cooking lessons.

Feedback from members has been very positive, one beneficiary of the Zoom sessions said; '' In this unprecedented pandemic the zoom calls have been a tremendous help. Adults with learning difficulties have been isolated and have had to rely on these sources of communication as their lifeline. I can't emphasis enough how much Asha has enjoyed being part of them. It has been something that she looked forward to whilst we cope with all the pressures and high levels of anxiety''.

Craft products were designed and produced by their members, including personalised and hand made decorated plates and mugs to support their members with their mental health

Another local resident, Debbie Swoter said: "Edward, who is 32 and has Downs Syndrome, was confused and rather deflated as suddenly life was reduced to being confined to home 24/7 with the exception of once daily exercise; after a couple of weeks Zoe and Pippa got in touch and suggested virtual activity sessions to bring some normality and social interaction into our locked down world. What a blessing this Zoom has become! They 'Zoomed' into our home eight times a week, with music and dance, singing, exercise, art, games, quizzes and bingo, initially for an hour at a time but soon extending to 90mins as the young people were keen to talk at the end of the sessions. It was literally a lifeline and Ed's day revolved around these sessions."

Castle Donington Volunteer Centre's Covid response has been intense over the last 23 weeks, with employees and volunteers stepping up to provide necessary services throughout the Covid pandemic.

5 individuals are employed by Castle Donington Volunteer Centre, all of whom were essential to the uplift in workload.

At the same time, the Centre's appeal for new volunteers in the villages was phenomenally successful. 128 people have been able to provide support to the 11 villages that they cover.

It is estimated by the Volunteer Centre that by 24th August it had supported in excess of 300 residents with shopping delivers; this involved 1,385 shopping deliveries from the local shops, but also the delivery of frozen food produced by volunteers to vulnerable individuals with different conditions and personal situations.

Change in the cumulative number of shopping requests up to 17th August 2020 from 17th March 2020.

Residents that were isolated were delivered their prescriptions, in an agreement reached with the local GP's and Pharmacy; Castle Donington Volunteer Centre has made 350 prescription deliveries.

To support people feeling alone and without family support, a buddying call system was put in place. This is being provided in conjunction with Hospice Hope and more than 600 telephone support calls have been made.

Some other activities provided by the Centre have included:

  • 42 Post Office trips to provide people with the cash they needed and ensure that bills were paid.
  • 69 Dog walking activities
  • 37 visits to collect and redistribute Emergency Boxes donated by local people; These were targeted at people that were known to be struggling, including families identified in conjunction with a local school.
  • 37 Book packages loaned from an honesty book initiative;. The Centre has 2000 books available to loan.

Special Events / Services - VE Day Cream Tea

Wayne Tranmer, Chair of Volunteers of Castle Donington Volunteer Centre said:

'As VE Day had the potential to be a flop we provided a Cream Tea to

the over 75's and veterans, the population that were present on that day 75 years ago.

We sourced, baked, packed and delivered 318 teas before lunch on the 8th of May to rekindle

memories, cheer up those in our villages who lived through the times and remind them that

we were here for them''.