Why do we need a Community Connectors program?

Community Connectors is a new program designed to enhance the lives of everyone in the community. Its goal is to help people become part of this wonderful community we live in.

Most of us feel better after spending time with our friends, whether it’s going on a picnic or riding trail bikes together. Being with others is good for us.

But sometimes people have difficulty making these important connections. This can be for different reasons such as someone has moved to the area or have experienced a change in life circumstances. This can also be true for those having issues with mental health, such as depression or anxiety. These people may lack the confidence and energy to make connections. They can then feel isolated and alone. Being connected to others may be the best thing for their well being, but they find it difficult to “put themselves out there”.

This is where Community Connectors comes in. Community Connectors are volunteers trained to, as the name suggests, connect people to the community.

Who is running the program?

Community Connectors was designed and developed by a collaborative of local health professionals who are passionate about making their community a better place for everyone. The committee consists of a Psychologist, counsellor, Social Worker and Community centre manager. The lead organisation is Carinity.

How will people be referred to the program?

People who would like to utilize the Community Connectors Program may be referred by health professionals or self refer.

Who can be a Community Connector?

We are looking for community members who are passionate about their community, who enjoy meeting new people and are interested in making their community an even better place for all.

Community Connectors (CCs) are everyday people who take the time to meet with people in the community and assist them to be a part of the community. CCs find out what the person is interested in and ‘connect’ them with the relevant service, group or club in the community. We would love to train CCs from all walks of life for example: professionals, stay at home mums, retirees etc.

Do I need a police check or Blue card to be a CC?

All Community connectors will need to have a current Police Check, but not a Blue Card. As a volunteer Community Connector, we will assist you to apply for the police check and there is no charge.

What does a Community Connector do?

You are probably already connecting others to the community. When you meet someone, you get to know them and introduce them to the community. The Community Connectors Program is making this process more intentional. This will mean more people will be connected, especially those people who may fall between the cracks and not be connected through other means.

After successfully completing the CC training, people will be registered as CC volunteers. They will then have care recipients referred to them by the CC coordinator. The CC and Care recipient will make a time to meet and get to know each other. This can be at a local coffee shop or cafe, or at the Community Centre which has a room where CCs can go for a coffee and chat. Together, they will discuss what the care recipient would like to be involved in the community. The CC will then assist them to do this using the local directory.

What if a Community Connector is unavailable?

If a CC is unavailable at the time, that’s fine, another CC will be contacted.

What does the CC training involve?

CC training consists of four training sessions of about 4 hours each. Topics covered will be Communication, boundaries, stress management and mental health awareness. They are designed to be fun and relaxed sessions, where we will also share a meal together. There will not be any tests or exams, however to be registered to be a CC, volunteers must show competence in areas of skill development.

I haven’t studied for many years and am worried about the training?

Don’t be. The training is based on skills and most people don’t have any trouble doing this. There is very little written work, and there is assistance available for those who would like it.

I’m interested in becoming a CC but can’t make the training times?

Even if you can’t make the training dates, please register your interest with the CC coordinator. They will discuss this with you and notify you of future training opportunities.

What is the time commitment required of a Community Connector?

This program is designed to fit around your life and time constraints. As everyone’s lives are different, we realise that CCs will be able to offer different time commitments. A retired person may be able to dedicate a day a week to CC, but someone who works may be able to meet with a care recipient during their lunch hour. Also, a CCs time commitment may fluctuate depending on life circumstances.

I work full time, can I be a Community Connector?

Yes. We encourage people from all different walks of life to become CCs. We believe that even a small amount of time cam make a big difference in someone’s life. You may be able to meet with a care recipient during your lunch hour.

What support do Community Connectors receive?

CCs are a very important part of the CC Team. They will be supported by the CC Coordinator and support worker. There will be regular support groups CC can be a part of for support and to debrief if they would like. CCs are also able to contact support workers at other times if needed.

Who do Community Connectors contact if they have a problem they would like to talk about?

The coordinator and support worker are available for support. They are available to answer your questions or concerns.

I have only been in the area a short time, can I be a Community Connector?

Yes! You do not have to know everything about the area, just a willingness to connect people. There will be a CC directory available which is updated with all the clubs, services and groups in the Scenic Rim area. This can be accessed on your PC, iPad or smart phone. If you don’t have access to these, you can access the directory at the Fassifern Community Centre.

What if I go away on holidays?

That’s fine. Just let the Coordinator know of the time you will be away and when you will be available again for the CC program.

Do Community Connectors get paid?

The CC position is volunteer so they are not paid. They are however paid in knowing they have contributed to making someone’s life better as well the community in general. CCs will also benefit from the training they receive. CCs can be reimburse for some expenses associated with the volunteer role.

Who funds the Community Connector program?

The program had been funded by an Innovative Funds Grant from Partners In Recovery, and inkind contributions from such organisations as Carinity and CofC Qld.

What is a Community Connector?

Community Connectors are volunteers trained to, as the name suggests, connect people to the community.

How does Community Connectors work?

People wanting a hand to connect to the community will be referred to a Community Connector, by the Community Connector Co-ordinator. They will then meet together over a cuppa and have a chat. After getting to know each other, the Community Connector will assist the person to become part of the community in whatever way they would like to. This could be by joining the fishing club, a book club or even volunteering for the SES! The possibilities are endless.

Are Community Connectors trained?

Community Connectors receive training to improve their Personal Caring Capacity. The skills learned will help you in their role as a volunteer, but also in their other relationships. Training will focus on how to listen to others effectively, listening for meaning, improving confidence and self worth, as well as strategies for healthy self care and stress management. Community Connectors will receive training, ongoing support and professional development opportunities free of charge.