Well Halton news and updates
Catch up on the latest news, events and stories from Well Halton
Halton entrepreneur Marie helps volunteers make a difference
Marie Jones founded Teeny Treasures to make bespoke knitted gifts for new-born babies from her own wardrobe in 2015, which has since expanded into a volunteer-based community project based around a Facebook group of over 1700 people.
As the group grew, so did the opportunity for the creativity of the Teeny Treasures team to be put to good use. – The group now provides items such as walk bags with pockets to be attached to zimmerframes for local care homes, mastectomy pillows which are made to be put under arms to prevent irritation, and bags which make it easier to carry around drains.
The effect on everybody involved, Marie says, is hugely positive. “I just saw the actual need for small clothes for children, and I’ve seen people making them before and charging extortionate prices so I thought, I can knit, I can make cardies and hats and blankets and then the parents won’t have to worry about it.”
And beyond the benefit of receiving a gift, Teeny Treasures has proved itself to be a source of good for those who want to get involved. Speaking about her volunteers, Marie said: “It gives them a sense of purpose… we have our knitting natter sessions, which can get people out of the house and give them an opportunity to learn a new skill and make some friends.
“We’ve also started going into care homes and working with the pensioners. Even if they’re just rolling balls of wool, you can see how it helps them just being involved in a conversation. Some people involved can be depressed, so we provide a nice, friendly atmosphere, and we think that’s really important for everyone.”
Marie is one of several people in the Halton area putting their time and effort into improving the wellbeing of the community. As Marie summed it up: “It’s all about promoting kindness – it doesn’t cost anything. If you’ve got a skill, then why not put it to use.”
Halton Shares Its Stories
We spent a day meandering around the town to showcase the vibrant talent and entrepreneurial spirit being fostered by the ongoing projects that our Well Halton pathfinder have been working with.
Led by Chris Carlin, local community members and familiar faces from across the North seemed inspired by the home-grown, grassroots success stories dotted around the town.
After starting with a trip to Windmill Hill to discuss plans for Halton’s integrated community hub, we had lunch with the Sew Halton team, a community interest company that, amongst other things, engages and trains refugees and local people in the growing enterprise.
Then we visited the Red Admiral Pub - not for a drink, but to meet with the Runcorn Veterans Association, who use the pub as their base for veterans support work and to run their community bike project.
Finally, we crossed the Mersey Gateway Bridge to get to the Widnes Vikings Rugby Stadium for a series of talks from Wellness Through Employment, Nightstop Communities Northwest CIC and Power in Partnership. The running theme was showing the unique ways that each group support young people in Halton.
Well North Lead, Lord Andrew Mawson, said of the event "it was great to see so many diverse and strong partners coming together in Halton to become a mature pathfinder partnership... From seeing Veterans giving back to their communities, to the exciting plans for Windmill Hill, the breadth and momentum of all that is happening is impressive"
BBC TV showcase for veterans project
The Well Halton bike rebuilding project for young people, run by local military veterans and police officers, has been featured on BBC North West Tonight. The police provide abandoned bikes and the veterans then use their skills to show young people how to refurbish them. The young participants get a ‘good as new’ bike and a certificate of achievement.
The scheme helps to build a sense of purpose amongst veterans, who may suffer from mental health issues and severe loneliness, by teaching them new skills and engaging them with the local community.
You can see the clip on the BBC NW Tonight twitter at the following link: https://t.co/xCE7M5UbUZ
Telling Well Halton’s story in pictures
To support Well Halton in telling their story Matt Worden, Well North’s artist, worked with Well Halton Project Manager Chris Carling to map out pictorially critical change moments, significant events and the strategic vision of how Well Halton can influence and work with partners to create even more opportunities in the community. Chris used the finished piece to illustrate his presentation at a recent immersion event focusing on the strategic direction of Well Halton over next period.
Matt's finished piece really catches the individual stories, challenges and opportunities in a vibrant and engaging way. He said: “It was fascinating to work with Chris to create this artefact. I believe it is important to offer information on Well North's achievements in as many ways possible. With the growth in graphic novels and storytelling presenting information in this way can be compelling and easily read by the different audiences Well North reaches."
Matt is now working on two more ‘maps’ telling the story of Well Bradford’s many achievements and future opportunities.
Based in Runcorn Shopping City, the new Sewing Rooms Halton will work closely with groups and individuals at risk of isolation, those with mental health issues and people experiencing long-term unemployment.
The Sewing Rooms enterprise was co-founded by lifelong entrepreneurs Maureen Fazal and Paula Gamester, and its expansion includes hiring local creative talent Victoria Begg. The Runcorn native and textile designer brings with her a wealth of local knowledge and experience, which will help the Sewing Rooms Halton replicate the successful mix of social and commercial programmes already being run in Skelmersdale. Find out more about this exciting development here.