Brixham Stronger Together (BTS) is a collaboration of more than 14 community-based organisations, working together to create a vibrant Brixham. KATHERINE OLIVERIO, of Yes! Brixham, writes:
Brixham Stronger Together has been working with the Brixham Chamber of Commerce to look at ways we can support our local businesses to prosper.
We have a lot of small businesses in Brixham who are not likely to have the luxury of an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), these are benefit programs that assists employees with personal problems and/or work-related problems that may impact their job performance, health, mental and emotional wellbeing.
Brixham Stronger Together are working with Brixham Chamber to create our own version of an EAP in the town using the services of our partner organisations to make sure that our businesses remain strong and prosper, but are also supported when times are tough.
We are at the beginning of this process so will share how this looks as it develops.
Supporting the mental health of our community during the crisis has been a major point of concentration for the Brixham Stronger Together partnership.
Stress, depression and anxiety caused by the pandemic has noticeably increased and the group are looking at ways to support the work of Brixham Bee well, one of our members, who are a group of residents, supported by NHS mental health professionals, Brixham councillors and charities who have been working over the last few years to provide a community-led package of support in response to poor mental health in the town.
We are doing this in a number of ways including by making sure the details of BTS members and the services they offer are communicated to and easily available to people in the town, so that they know where they can access support if they need to.
Over the length of the pandemic the two food banks in Brixham, Brixham Food Bank and the Yes! Brixham Food Bank have been supporting vulnerable community members to make sure they have access to food.
Together we have provided well over 2,000 meals to people in Brixham, Churston and Galmpton.
During this time we joined the Torbay Food Alliance, which is a network of food banks across Torbay.
This was a great source of support as it became very difficult to bulk buy and access food as the pandemic progressed.
Through the Food Alliance we were able get hold of the food we needed to keep our food banks stocked.
We would like to just say a massive thanks to all the Torbay Food Alliance members for the peer support and also thanks to Chris Ellis and Becky Morgan for their coordination efforts.
Last week Anthony Magnell, the MP for Totnes constituency, invited Brixham Stronger Together members to join an online Zoom meeting with other community care organisations from across the constituency, including Dartmouth Caring, Totnes Caring and Kingsbridge and Saltstone Caring.
The conversation was based around the health and wellbeing challenges that our communities were facing and what were the messages we needed our MP to take to parliament to advocate for the resources we needed.
Challenges around reducing isolation and making it easier to access the Government-recruited volunteers who came forward during the crisis were all discussed, along with improving links between statutory agencies and the third sector so that the valuable and effective work that the third sector has proven it can deliver during this crisis is integrated into future health and wellbeing plans.