By Karyn Kirkpatrick, Keyring
KeyRing is a Crowd funder! Well, we have always been sharers and keen to support new ventures for our Members and the wider community, but this is a bit different. Last month KeyRing Trustees committed £15k of our reserves to #Social Care Future to tell a different story about social care Ripples of Hope because we believe fundamental change is required and that change must mobilise and value all our community assets.
In KeyRing we see this first hand, the people we support, KeyRing Members, are usually on the borderlands between social care and making it on your own, changes in policy on housing, benefits, access to legal aid etc. have an immediate impact, creating sudden crises and weakening people’s ability to cope with adversity. The years of austerity have had a major impact on many of the neighbourhoods we work in with closures of local resources e.g. libraries, social facilities, shops, banks etc.
For many people this is a borderland between social care and charity in the old sense. KeyRing staff now issue foodbank vouchers in many areas, they apply to local charities for winter clothing or essential white goods, have set up clothes bank for interviews, support a baby bank.
But this is also a story of hope, KeyRing Members work together to support each other, volunteer at foodbanks, charity shops, community cafes, take over running coffee mornings for older residents when the housing association withdraws support, timebank, fundraise for local good causes, set up support groups, draw on their personal networks and share resources.
KeyRing are also working with The Company of Community Organisers training all our staff and volunteers now and rolling out to KeyRing Members in the coming months. Community organising is the work of bringing people together to take action around their common concerns and overcome social injustice, using a framework of Listen, Connect, Organise, Power, Leadership, Strategy, Action and Change. We want to challenge the assumption that people who used social care were somehow powerless in their communities.
Austerity is reshaping our communities, but also the response of those communities, so for KeyRing being part of #SocialCareFuture makes complete sense, being part of a network, sharing our resources, taking action to overcome social injustice, creating a new story of change for social care.