International Womens Day

International Women's Day Creative Workshop Photo
For the second event celebrating IWD in Nuneaton, Mel from Escape Arts lead an art session with the customers at the Ramsden Centre.
The group had great fun with paints, brushes, stamps and sponges to create a piece of artwork to be displayed at a series of IWD events over the next two weeks.
We are proud to say lots of mess was made, laughter filled the room and everyone enjoyed the experience.
The session was made possible by Dawn from Grapevine Empowerment Service and Maxine who is the Community Development officer for Nuneaton and Wembroook. It was a great example of partnership working within the local community.
Find out what else is going on and how you can get involved.

International Women’s Day

International Women's Day 2018
International Women’s Day takes place every year on March 8th.

Take a look at events planned. Keep up to date with what is happening on the International Women’s Day – Nuneaton and Bedworth Face Book Page. 

Every one got the chance to share their thoughts on what would make an amazing local Day through Ideas Factories organised by our own Dawn Nicholls. More importantly people pledged their support to help make it happen!

Let’s end isolation and loneliness

Jo Cox Quote
Clare was asked to talk on BBC Coventry & Warwickshire radio this morning following the appointment of the new Minister for Loneliness Tracy Crouch.

The invitation came after Clare took part in roundtable to help shape the thinking behind the recommendations of  Jo Cox’s commission on loneliness. The commission was inspired by Jo’s vision that by working together we could make a real difference to the lives of those affected by loneliness.

Clare says: ‘It’s great the government have accepted all of the Commission’s recommendations.  Above all though, this isn’t about what governments can do, its about what ordinary people can do for each other.

We’ve always thought that the thing people need in life when they’ve got problems isn’t so much services – services have their place – but good people around them. That’s why we want to spark a movement among ordinary folk to tackle isolation.’

If you live in Coventry and want to do something to combat the problem then please get in touch, we’d love to meet you. You can  email Mel to find out more.

We’ll also be supporting The Great Get Together – in celebration of Jo Cox –  22-24 June 2018.

To listen to Clare tune into the Justine Greene show at 1hr:20mins:53sec:

Connect for a kinder tomorrow – new approaches to loneliness.

I was lucky enough to be part of a discussion panel in July to help shape thinking  for the Jo Cox Loneliness Commission. I’m delighted to see today its call to Connect for a kinder tomorrow – new approaches to loneliness.

‘Starting a conversation each day in your neighbourhood can be a radical act of community service’ is advice that resonates strongly with me. We see 100s of people in crisis we know will have had no caring interaction with anyone in their communities that day or any other day.

Even though Graham had a job as a cleaner, Job Centre Plus were worried about him. They referred him to us. Graham wasn’t keen. He’s 57 and proud. He has a learning disability and hearing impairment. Eventually, he met Mia from Grapevine. Reluctantly, he allowed her to help. He really needed help – he was in a vulnerable situation.

He existed on £60 a week, lived on baked beans and never had the heating on in the house he occupied alone (he slept on the sofa under a pile of coats). Worse still, a man would take Graham to the building society and withdraw money – £500 at a time.

Graham wasn’t living in a special or residential group home. He rented his own home in an ordinary street in an ordinary bit of Coventry. This all happened in plain sight.

Mia was able to help Graham solve some problems. She arranged that the building society would contact her before handing over large sums. She sorted out Graham’s debts. But she was realistic about what she could achieve: ‘Yes, I can help sort things out. But what Graham needs is ordinary people in his life – people who will look out for him in the long term so these problems don’t keep coming back.’

Grapevine helped Graham start to move from a life on the margins. But he needs connections with ordinary people who care about him to avoid going back.

Cash strapped public services are exhausted,  our own often constrained by commissioning criteria. But other help is there, it just hasn’t been unlocked.

Frustrated by traditional service models we’ve searched for new solutions that unlock the pre-existing resources in communities and turned to social movements for inspiration. Social movements can teach us how to unlock people’s willingness to act together on a problem.

Social movements have shown us how we can go beyond the model that says every problem needs another project and instead put the emphasis on unlocking ordinary people’s capabilities to help themselves and those around them.

Next year Grapevine will spark a movement that tackles isolation among people like Graham in Coventry. Isolation makes people vulnerable to abuse, cruelty and loneliness. Communities where people are connected to each other end isolation. Our ambition is to end it for good.

The Commission publishes its manifesto on Friday. ‘We can’t afford not to act’.

Clare Wightman

Changing Places

Changing Places
Update from Grapevine Empowerment Service

On the 28th November, people in Polesworth met with staff from Grapevine and staff from Warwickshire County Council to talk about the Changing Places Campaign.

“The Changing Places Consortium launched its campaign in 2006 on behalf of the over 1/4 of a million people who cannot use standard accessible toilets. This includes people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, as well as older people.

To use the toilet in safety and comfort, many people need to be able to access a Changing Places, which have more space and the right equipment, including a height adjustable changing bench and a hoist.”

The people in Polesworth spoke up about the difference it would make to their daily lives to be able to go out without worrying about getting caught short!

We know there is a great need for accessible toilets in Warwickshire towns, and the good news is that Warwickshire County Council has some money to put some in.

Changing Places

The Big Paddle

The Big Paddle
Local community as equal partners in pool, play and support

Mel has been working with Coventry Sports Foundation to help encourage more people into the pool.  ‘The Big Paddle’ helps adults who are nervous about swimming to get confident in water. No swimming costumes were needed and help was on hand if needed. Tea and cake were provided afterwards as a treat for those who mastered their fears.

If you would like to try one of their FREE adult swimming lessons contact Natalie – for more details


More Moustaches at Grapevine HQ

The team are raising money for Movember by donning these tasty moustaches.

If you would like to support us and help us to raise money for the only global charity focused solely on men’s health , click here.

Did you Know?

Men are facing a health crisis that isn’t being talked about. They are dying too young, before their time.  Men die on average six years earlier than women. But you can be the difference to help us change this startling stat. Get involved with the November movement.

Health and Wellbeing Challenge

Health and Wellbeing Challenge
At Grapevine we have been thinking a lot about our health and wellbeing recently.

Over the last couple of months we have challenged ourselves. Firstly, to see how many steps we could do in one month; both individually and with a buddy. Then October saw the #21 challenge. Staff were inspired to take time out for themselves to get creative, active or join in an group activity.

For November staff are collaborating on making a banner including pictures, symbols and key words to show what Grapevine is about. Michelle has been busy creating kits for staff to take home.

Keep an eye out on our Facebook page for updates…


Movember & Mo Sistas

Mo Sistas for Movember

The ladies at Grapevine didn’t want to miss out on the Movember fun!

So they have become Mo Sistas. If you haven’t heard of Mo Sistas before here is a definition:

 Mo Sistas play a vital role in the success of Movember by supporting and encouraging the men in their life to get involved. Essentially, Mo Sistas do everything that Mo Bros do, without a Mo.

Besides having fun with moustaches we will also be fundraising to help the Movember campaign. Men die on average six years earlier than women. Movember raises awareness for men’s health and aims to change this statistic.

If you would like to get involved you can help us raise funds and/or you can  join our team, send your email to Michelle and she will get you added to the GV Bro’s Team: