Our birthday’s a bit different this year…

“We need each other and our communities more than we ever have.”

Who would have imagined the power of these words when they were spoken at our 25th anniversary event last October?

Art and friendship

Our ‘Roots to Wings’ event at Coventry University saw community, colleagues, supporters, funders, beneficiaries and friends of Grapevine come together to mark a quarter of a century since the doors of the Spon End drop-in first opened.

So much changed over that 25-year period – from helping disabled people move away from stigma and segregation to uncover their identity and power, to realising our potential to help many more people who were experiencing all kinds of isolation, poverty and disadvantage.

We know isolation was a big problem for people and communities in 2019. We had no idea how much harder it was going to get in 2020. But we are constantly finding new ways to adapt to a socially distanced world and still ensure the people, relationships and connections we’ve met and made stay strong.

As our Deputy CEO Mel puts it: “Our roots run deep. Our push for change is growing in momentum and how we get there really matters to us.”

We’ve already hosted an online summit for 155 people, uncovering an even bigger capacity and potential for change than we imagined. Hope, compassion and ambition are needed in people’s lives more than ever now.

Alongside our day-to-day work with over 500 people most at risk of isolation in Coventry and Warwickshire, we are:

– Gathering people with lived experience of isolation to train as storytellers and tell their COVID-19 stories to begin a process of regeneration and change known as ‘Reform the Norm’;
– Growing the next generation of community leaders through Changemaker University;
– Co-hosting monthly Collaboration Stations to help the community form isolation-battling ideas;
– Campaigning for greater health equality for people with learning disabilities;
– Guiding our young people through some of the greatest challenges of their lives;
– Supporting disabled people searching for paid employment.

We are also planning some very exciting events for November… keep an eye on our website and social media to be the first to know!