Community Connectors at the Beacon

Our lovely Community Connector Rivka has moved on to better things. We do miss her but wish her well in her new ventures. However we have good news and would like to introduce our new Community Connector. Willy Poulter has joined the team and is now working alongside Beth Novell.

Hi everyone,

I’m Willy, I’ve just started my new role as a Community Connector at the Beacon Centre. I’ll be working with people who want to feel great and get involved in some of the amazing activities in Exeter! Its called social prescribing and you can find out how to be referred to us by visiting the Wellbeing Exeter website or asking at the Beacon Centre. 

You might have seen me around as the Community Builder for Beacon Heath, Mincinglake and Whipton. I studied environmental science and have had many different jobs in my life; from ambulance dispatcher to landscape gardener. I’m a hopeful campaigner for a healthy environment, social equality and better public services for all. I enjoy thinking about how we can all organise to make our communities safer, supportive, joyful places. I also enjoy dog training, sewing, growing food, being around people, and dancing.

I’ll be around at the Beacon Centre and would love to hear what you think could make our communities a bit more connected. 
Come say hi at the Beacon Centre from 10 – 12 on a Friday morning, or email me at [email protected]

Welcome to our Community Connectors.

Welcome! We’re delighted to announce two new members of staff have joined the Beacon Community Centre as Community Connectors.

Beth Norvell and Rivka Jacobs are both experienced community workers and these new part-time roles will be offering support, mainly to people living in Beacon Heath and Whipton. We are Exeter’s first community centre to employ Community Connectors who help people with social, emotional or practical needs, taking time to listen to referred individuals helping introduce them to new opportunities for making friends, getting active, and joining their local community.

Kate Galliford, Beacon Community Centre manager, said: “It’s really exciting to have Beth and Rivka on board working in our community. They are a brilliant asset to what’s going on here. In normal times we can offer support through our different groups but during lockdown we’ve finding it harder to reach out to people so to have Community Connectors going out to meet people is wonderful. We know there are so many people we are not reaching.”

Rivka explained their roles: “We’re like a library helping people access lots of different activities and groups, there’s lots of things happening in our city. We help people connect and live their best lives. It’s called social prescribing which is meeting people’s needs which are not medical. You need a GP referral so we can help,  please contact your doctor and ask for our help.”

Rivka, is also a milliner, running her own hat and accessories business in Exeter. “I’ve been doing community work for the past 20 years, in London, Bristol, Plymouth and Exeter, working with young people, homeless people and women.

“I’m very passionate about helping people find their interests in life and bringing a sense of joy and excitement to their lives,” she said. “In my personal life I enjoy yoga, dancing, I’m really embracing the kitchen disco in lockdown, cooking, gardening and am really into recycling and textiles.”

Beth worked in Bristol as a Community Outreach Worker at a Family centre before moving to Exeter with her family. She has worked with homeless people, at night shelters,  participated in campaigns around domestic violence and was part of a network of housing and worker’s co-operatives which have spread nationally.

After raising her family Beth volunteered with CAB and a refugee support group, ran her own business growing bee friendly flowers, before becoming a Mental Health Support Worker in supported housing in her last role. In her spare time she enjoys walking, camping and being outside.
Beth said: “The role of Community Connector is bringing back community  and it’s what I’ve been doing my adult life, professionally and as a volunteer.  I’m very excited about this opportunity to work in the local community and all the possibilities ahead” …….

If you’d like to find out more about Community Connectors please visit the Exeter Wellbeing website or contact your GP.