Celebrating Diversity – Lunch & Mingle
Since receiving a grant from the Big Lottery Celebrate Fund in 2016, the Lunch & Mingle events have become a regular feature on the Links calendar.
Previous Lunch and Mingle Events
2nd February - Digital Inclusivity
19th April - Refugees are Welcome Here
14th June - Loneliness
18th October - Hate Crime
6th December - Loan Sharks
September - The Cost of Living Crisis
We ran 4 Lunch & Mingle (Equality and Diversity) events which brought together groups supporting service users who are marginalised. These included BME, mental health, disability, learning disability, LGBT+, faith, older people and young people groups as well as those generic community-based VCS groups who wished to become more connected and inclusive with the wider community at a local level. These were all held via Zoom:
April - Hate Crime
May - Joined Up Care Derbyshire
September - The Climate Crisis & You
November - Refugees are welcome here
On 12th March we had a great start to the Lunch & Mingle’s with an emotional session on Homelessness. Speakers included: Pathways, Church on the Bus and Derbyshire Law Centre. Unfortunately, we then had to postpone the rest of the sessions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In July we moved to Zoom with our new format, Just Mingle which included:
- 23rd July – Syrian Refugees in Derbyshire (Speakers: North Derbyshire Refugee Support Group, Chesterfield Stand Up to Racism)
- 10th September – Environment and Climate Change (Speakers: Chesterfield Climate Alliance)
- 15th October – Autism & Adults (Speakers: Derbyshire Autism Services)
In 2019 we held five Lunch & Mingle’s. These were:
- 5th April – Discrimination (Speakers: Cllr Barry Lewis – Leader of Derbyshire County Council, Derbyshire LGBT+, African Caribbean Community Association)
- 23rd May – Tackling Domestic Abuse (Speakers: Derbyshire Domestic Abuse Helpline, The Elm Foundation)
- 17th July – Poverty (Speakers: Christian’s Against Poverty, Derbyshire Unemployed Workers Centres, Clay Cross Foodbank)
- 9th October – Disability, Including Long Term Illness and Mental Health (Speakers: Derbyshire Borderline Personality Disorder Support Group, M.A.S.H, McMillan Cancer Support, Alzheimer’s Society, Chesterfield & North Derbyshire Tinnitus Support Group)
- 10th December – Review of the year and suggestions for 2020.
During 2018 we held Lunch & Mingle’s in February, May and September and jointly with Links AGM in December. In May we heard about Mental Health issues in particular how this affects young people and in September we had a joint event with Chesterfield Borough Council Equality & Diversity Forum which focused on Deaf Awareness and how different organisations deal with clients and staff. Jane Birkin talked about improving access to police services, Vikki Develin (Royal Hospital) talked about her work with the Deaf Forum and Janet Mellor gave us insight into a new group Deaf-initely Women which offers support to Deaf Women.
We celebrated with Amanda Brickmanis (Patient Engagement & Experience Manager – North Derbyshire CCG) who won The Staff Pride Award and donated her £50 charitable donation to Links to support the Lunch & Mingle events.
During the year there have been positive outcomes for the CCG:
- Visit by a member of the Chinese Community to the Chesterfield PPG Network group to raise awareness of access difficulties of people who do not have English as a first language
- Recruitment of a member of the Chesterfield Multi-Faith Group to the CCG’s Patient Reference Group
- Attendance at a Veterans Information drop-in session and follow up of queries
- Joint working with Derbyshire Carers to take forward the Carers Charter in GP Practices and to improve the support to BME carers
- Sharing of the group’s information e.g. Chinese Elders Luncheon club, Tools with a Mission, Neighbourhood Watch
We also celebrated with Joye Dobbs from Chesterfield & District Neighbourhood Watch who was awarded the Derbyshire Constabulary Award for hard work and commitment to Derbyshire Neighbourhood Watch (North Division).
We enjoyed delicious food provided by the BME groups and from Rose at Rose’s kitchen.
In the first year, 2017, we held Lunch & Mingle events every month and the following groups shared information about their groups.
Jane Woodward from Chesterfield Timebank, James Eaden & Barbara Sansome from Chesterfield Stand up to Racism, Julia Cook from DVA, Joye Dobbs from Chesterfield & District Neighbourhood Watch, Muzelley McCready from the Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group, Ann Sullivan from Deaf and Hearing Support, Suzanne Fraser Martin from Derbyshire LGBT+, David Sanderson from Tools with a Mission and Richard Wort from Derbyshire Fire & Rescue.
We held a joint event with Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group (DGLG) celebrating the history of Gypsies and their contribution to the wider community.
The year culminated in a celebration event held at the Winding Wheel in Chesterfield attended by 170 people representing over 60 groups who brought information about their activities. It was attended by the Mayor of Chesterfield who was impressed by the diversity of the groups. It was a great success with singing, dancing and as always delicious food showing the diversity of food available. It was provided by the Syrian refugee families, Asian Association, Chinese Elders and Rose’s Kitchen all brilliantly co-ordinated by Rose and her volunteers Muzelley and Joye.
The whole event was made possible by the hard work of 11 volunteers. Lily Marsh, Glyn Cooke, Barbara Sansome, Callum Salfield, Darren Sharrod, Michael Crossley, Joe Roberts, Annette Bentley.
Groups are very keen to celebrate their achievements and this happens within the different equality areas e.g. Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) groups celebrate their traditions and culture as well as showcasing the positive contributions made to influence local policy and service planning. Mental health groups organise information markets and a group of young adults with learning disabilities have formed a choir and sing at community events and in public. Stand up to Racism support Syrian Refugee families who have settled in Chesterfield.