Welcoming new connector Lucy to the team

Community connectors working on Grapevine’s Help and Connect project in Coventry spend most of their time out and about getting to know the people they’re working with and building networks of support with them in their local area.

So we thought it would be good to introduce a new face to the team and community!

A white woman with long, straight brown hair worn around her shoulders holds a white coffee mug and takes a selfie. She is inside a house with wooden shelves and white ornaments on the wall behind her.
Grapevine connector Lucy

Lucy Langhorn joined us in April working on the Plan and Connect strand of Help and Connect – a project commissioned by Coventry City Council to help autistic and learning disabled people make a plan, get connections, get work, stay healthy and stay safe.

Lucy will help people with their most pressing needs first then equip them with skills, knowledge, support networks and readiness for self-management and onward opportunity.

At Grapevine, we strengthen people by uncovering their talents and passions. Then we use these to create natural networks of community support. Networks that strengthen, bring opportunity and help them take charge of their lives.

Meet Lucy!

What were you doing before Grapevine?

I had been working from home for a number of years for a family mediation company. Whilst there I completed my training in family mediation and Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) mediation. Before that, I have worked in leisure and also owned my own dog walking business.

What other experiences will help you in this role?

I have both lived and professional experiences that I know will help me with this role. Having worked previously with people that have a diagnosis of autism, I know each person has a hidden potential and it’s about finding their unique interests and building new skills to enjoy them.

Both my career and my own personal journey have given me a great insight for what others might be experiencing and a knowledge of how to move forward in a caring and considerate way so I can listen to each person and really gain a better understanding as to what they want.

Why do you work like this?

This is not the first charity that I have worked for. I have volunteered for the Greyhound Trust in Coventry and I also used to provide the Read To Dogs programme with my dog Maggie the greyhound at two schools through Pets As Therapy.

The children loved lying with her, gaining confidence with their voice reading and found it hilarious when she broke wind! I worked with Maggie within the speech and language department and working with the staff, we developed new ways to support children that were previously struggling.

Seeing the results was extremely rewarding. Some of the children that came to the Read To Dogs sessions had autism or other disabilities. By sitting and stroking Maggie whilst reading, they became calmer and more focussed on what was being asked of them and this meant that they were able to sit for longer periods of time to complete activities and stay focused on their work.

I saw how by taking Maggie into these groups, she formed such a common interest and got people talking – even if people didn’t own a pet, they talked about a pet a family member owned. She also had such a positive influence on the whole school.

What are you most looking forward to about this role?

Meeting some amazing people and finding their potential. I know it may take time but I am all about the spark and that is all it takes.

I know that for some it will be more difficult but I really enjoy having fun and being light hearted in conversations. There will be a time for the serious stuff but we will have a lot of fun too.

Is there a fun fact you’d like to share with us?

I was in a community play back in 1990 at the Belgrade Theatre and Blue Peter came to film it. John Leslie was the presenter that came and because it was going to be shown on the programme, we all got a Blue Peter Badge and I still have it today.

Follow this link for more about Help and Connect, including how to get in touch to refer yourself or someone you know.

You will find some examples of how we work there too.

Help and Connect forms part of our Strengthening People work across Coventry and Warwickshire.