The second in our community showcase series shines a light on Neighbourhood Networks. We caught up with Lauren May to find out more
Can you tell me a bit about Neighbourhood Networks, and how you play your part in supporting local carers?
We’ve been facilitating peer support networks in East Ren for people who are isolated in their community for 3 years. We support people who have a mild learning disability, poor mental health or physical disability. We want to help people to have an active life, get out the house, and try new things. We want people in the network to build friendships, support each other and be as independent as possible. The network members are supported by a community living worker who lives locally. Their job is to connect people to the community and provide support for people to share and develop their skills.
What kind of difference do you think this makes to people?
The network is really flexible, the Community living works flexibly over the week and people can access support when they need it and not when they don’t. We don’t want to tell people how to live their lives, we want to help people to do what’s important for them and have opportunities and new experiences.
Do you have anything happening soon?
We’re having a neighbourhood natter in Giffnock Library on Thursdays 4:00-6:00. It’s open to anyone. You don’t have to be a member. It’s laid back, so just come along. We have both adults and kids who come along.
It’s a good way to get out and meet new people. Some people like to bring along their arts and crafts– some members bring along jewellery making, card making, adult colouring books, games etc. We find that when people are doing something creative that they enjoy they feel more relaxed and the conversation flows.
I think it’s good to have a space in the community and somewhere to go if you want chat, having the support of your peers can be a big help.
Are you looking to grow the network?
We are starting to work with young people who are leaving school, college. It could be a good thing for young carers.
At the moment, we are working in the Eastern side of the local authority, but open to hearing from people on the other side too who might benefit from a network.
We are always looking for people to approach us with any kind of skills or ideas to get something started in the community. We also have a lot of connections.
Would you like to highlight another person, service or organisation in East Ren that makes east Ren more Carer friendly?
We’ve used the Giffnock United Reform church. They are really welcoming and accommodating. The library is a really good resource too.
We are quite involved with East Renfrewshire Disability Alliance (ERDA) and think it is important to promote this to the members we support. People might not realise they do some great work. They are always looking for new members. Anyone is welcome to join if they are interested in improving the lives of disabled people and their families the area.
What are the little things that you think people could do to be more ‘carer friendly’?
Take more notice of people round about you. Often, we are caught up in our own lives and the challenges and pressures of modern life. Take some time out and make time for yourself even if it’s 10minutes.
How to get in touch
If you are interested in becoming a member of the network, or would like to recommend someone, please get in touch. We’ll come out and have a chat about what the network can offer you.
Call Lauren on 0141 440 1005 or email her at