Home » News & Events » REPORT on Community event in Princetown, 12 noon – 4 pm on Monday 27 March 2023

REPORT on Community event in Princetown, 12 noon – 4 pm on Monday 27 March 2023

“Such a great hubbub and atmosphere!”

“We’ve had some great conversations and set up joint working opportunities with clients we have in common. Real wrap around the person service.”

Our Aims:

  • To give people the chance to find out more about their local community groups and services
  • To share information about where to go for advice
  • To inspire people to take up new opportunities and make new friends
  • To give people the chance to talk to local council representatives
  • To provide networking opportunities to local organisations and services

The event was held in the Princetown Community Centre with risk assessments in place. It is our fifteenth event since Jan 2018.

Summary figures

123 people were involved in the event including:

  •  28 stalls
  •  30 organisations represented
  •  52 members of the public

1. Stallholder evaluation

We asked stallholders for their evaluation on the value of the event. Of the responses we received:

  • 100% felt they had expanded on their knowledge of other services available
  • 100% felt encouraged to engage with other services as a result
  • Text Box: “Collaboration is everything!!”
“Really good to meet face to face.”
“Well attended. Great range of attendees for us.”
75% felt they had useful exchanges the public

“Collaboration is everything!!”

“Really good to meet face to face.”

“Well attended. Great range of attendees for us.”

2.  Public response

People felt Princetown has a sense of community, although many people mentioned that it can be difficult to get people out to attend things.

Attendees at our event were very positive about what they took away from it:

  • “Thank you for bringing so many services here today!”
  • “I didn’t know that so many things were available.”
  • “I’ve come from Horrabridge and it’s great to see so much information”
  •  “Loved the children singing! So good to see so much energy!”
  • “I didn’t know about some of the organisations here. Really interesting.”
  • “I’ve just moved here. I came here because I felt drawn to the place. I’ve found out new things to me here today. Thank you.”

Stallholder evaluation highlighted a number of positives from the event. Comments included:

  • “Networking with other agencies.”
  • “Well set up; good mix of groups. Really positive; enjoyed this event very much!”
  • “I have been speaking to TASS and they are interested in our group to support their members.”
  • “A few of the public have taken our cards and will refer themselves into our service.”

Public footfall was not huge, despite publicity on social media and posters displayed in the village shops, cafes, food hub and post office. The village community primary school and pre-school did an excellent job of supporting and publicising the event. The whole school attended to sing to us, accompanied by the wonderful school dog Simba! We also took publicity to the neighbouring village of Horrabridge. Those members of the public that attended were impressed by the range of services present, and valued the effort people had gone to in taking part in the event.

5.  Participants

Action for ChildrenFeeding Devon
Citizen’s Advice/Macmillan Welfare BenefitsHigh Moorland WI
Crafty Dartmoor DivasMethodist Chapel
One Small StepSouth West Water
Dartmoor Forest Parish CouncilPrincetown Library
Devon and Cornwall PoliceRotary Club of Yelverton
Devon FreewheelersShared Lives South West
Tamar Energy CommunityPrincetown Community Primary School
TASSTavistock Area Wellbeing
Tavistock Memory CafeTogether Drug and Alcohol
West Devon Mission CommunityWest Devon Borough Council
Wren Music Singing for WellnessYelverton Friendship Cafe
Live West

Wheeled Access Group  

6.  Learning and thanks

We felt that we offered a wide range of stalls for people to peruse, which was a view supported by the public and stallholders alike. We would like to thank Councillor Mark Renders who kindly agreed to open the event for us and stayed to engage with the public and stallholders; Heather Chapman from the Library for community information and support, and to Princetown Preschool for offering advice and support. We also owe a huge thank you to the WI who served the refreshments, and to Head Emma Byrom and the primary school for visiting en masse to sing to us and provide a shot of energy into the room!

Public attendance was patchy, a fact noted on some stallholder feedback. Interestingly, one group from inside Princetown commented on how good the attendance had been from the local community. Timings are always critical. The timeslot we used was partly dictated by the availability of stallholders in the working day, and we tried to attract people with hot pasties over lunch plus staying open at school finishing time. This inevitably meant people in work couldn’t attend. A Monday is also not the most useful day of the week to run an event on, but was chosen because of availability of some of the contributing groups including the Primary School. We might consider doing a different day and time slot at our next event as an experiment.

The perennial problem of how to reach people is always an issue. We used social media locally and physical postering. We also liaised with local community organisations and services like the school, pre-school, Post Office, Library and Methodist Chapel. We gave out information in a neighbouring village. This undoubtably helped to spread the word, but we need to find other ways of reaching further into rural communities. Often, particular individuals play a significant part in a rural community; even though we felt we had contact here with a number of these, we still didn’t encourage enough people to participate. A longer period of co-working prior to the event might improve this, but it has to be weighed against the amount of staff time this would take given that rural communities are isolated and take time to reach both physically and psychologically.

This is a National Lottery funded project operating over West Devon and Torridge, now in it’s seventh year. We offer free debt and money advice to people who are isolated by circumstance or geography. We seek to boost rural communities by hosting events that put people in touch with services and activities, in partnership with West Devon CVS.

For more information, please contact Julie Matthews  julie@navigatecharity.org.uk

or Billie Burnett volunteering@westdevoncvs.org.uk or ring 07704 155984