The Dale Peninsula
In the early part of 2019, four get-togethers were held on the Dale Peninsula to establish whether Rural Wisdom could be of use to the communities of Dale village, Marloes and St Ishmaels. From Dale, it is over 10 miles both to Haverfordwest and to Milford Haven. Many people on the peninsula travel to Milford to see their GP or shop, whilst a trip to Haverfordwest is necessary for other services. Work in The Dale Peninsula took place during stage two of the Rural Wisdom project from 2019 to 2021.
How it all began
In May 2019 our team launched the Rural Wisdom project in the area alongside evaluation partners NDTi. Information events were held at community venues and leaflet drops were carried out to encourage people to come along and learn about the project and its aims. At these events multiple conversations were had with local people about what could be done to help them to live well.
It was clear from our research that older people in the community were suffering from a degree of social isolation. Moreover, a large proportion of second homes in this beautiful part of the county meant that there was not much going on in the winter months. One of the main improvements locals sought to the area was an increase in available activities and opportunities for lifelong learning, as well as support to access these events and initiatives. Working alongside local organisations including the Community Connector team we focussed particularly on how to do more to make the winter more tolerable for older people.
Dale Winter Warmers
The Dale Winter Warmers was a routine of regular activities jointly delivered by Rural Wisdom and the Community Connector team. On the Dale Peninsula, a number of local people from the three villages were able to come together safely for fun activities. These gatherings also provided an opportunity to connect these people with vital advice and information. An email network was also developed there so that locals could remain informed about relevant news and events from home to keep them engaged with the wider community.
Community transport initiative
Our research highlighted that some people were willing to offer lifts and this offered a great opportunity for drivers in the three villages to get involved with a new community transport initiative being developed by PACTO (Pembrokeshire Association of Community Transport Organisations). Connecting local people to a wider range of events and activities in the area improves social connection amongst groups and gives individuals the chance to access improved support services.
What we achieved
By designing and delivering a wide range of regular activities across the community built specifically for and by older residents, we were able to reduce the isolation of those in the area who had previously felt there was little for them to do. Connecting people through soup and sandwich events, information days and mystery bus tours among other things provided much needed social connection during the difficult winter months.
Rachel Evans is the Development Worker delivering Rural Wisdom in Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire. Get in touch with Rachel at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07733 265769 if you would like to find out more about our work in these areas or to get involved.