CO-PRODUCTION IN ACTION: Ely Caerau Community Mothers

Spotlight on a co-production case study: Cheryl Hughes and the Ely time credits 

Cheryl is in her mid-40s and is from Ely, a large housing estate on the outskirts of Cardiff. She comes from a large family and has 3 children, the youngest of whom are now teenagers. She has never worked as her priority was to give her children a good upbringing.

Cheryl first became involved with the Ely time credits project by taking part in some local community cleanup activities. Her family were keen to earn credits for a trip to Tenby. Cheryl worked with the project team to organise and take part in a series of litter picks. Over the summer she took part in more time credit activities – cleanups, helping out at community events and the Ely festival, assisting at fun days and holiday activity sessions.

Taking part in these activities helped Cheryl grow in confidence, build new relationships and get to know people within the community. This led her to express an interest in forming a new community group for local mothers. Her group, ‘Community Mothers’, is now fully constituted and has received its first funding. She has spent her credits on a trip to the beach with members of her extended family, a 3 day family holiday (which was thoroughly enjoyed) and 2 trips to the theatre. She particularly enjoys being able to treat members of her family to trips and activities, which is something she wouldn’t be able to do without time credits.

“I feel that time credits have taken me places that I haven’t seen before. They have opened my eyes to more than looking after my children, of course which I love doing. I never thought I would be able to do anything else because of my dyslexia. It has helped me to gain confidence and improve the way I now live my life.”

As a result of Cheryl’s involvement in the time credits project, Community Mothers has now benefitted over 60 community members. The group holds a weekly coffee morning (which people can access with time credits) and is working in partnership with a local church to develop a new play area and garden for the community. Young people from her group raised £150 by holding an event for Children in Need and in 2012 Community Mothers launched a book and toy library, peer-led cooking group and a depression support group. Cheryl has personally blossomed – she has gained new skills and massively increased her confidence and self esteem, accessed training and courses and built new social networks. In addition to all this Cheryl still turns up to share her skills and enthusiasm at many other time credits events within the community.

“Community Mothers started off as a small idea that is now growing into something I feel that can help mothers like myself gain confidence in themselves to do whatever they want to. And to think all this started by litter picking and having fun with other like minded communities.” 

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