The Guardian newspaper featured an article on Community Coach, the project thinkpublic helped to set up with Barnet residents, in partnership with Barnet Council and the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA).
The Community Coach project trains residents in life coaching to support families with complex needs tackle the problems they face in their everyday lives. Coaches gain valuable new skills whilst families benefit from greater self-confidence and resilience. And by supporting families' resilience, public services can expectto benefit financially as a result of reduced dependency on costly specialist services.
Cephas Akuklu, a former teacher who was one of six unemployed Barnet residents trained as Community Coaches, is interviewed for the article.Describing the role of Community Coach, Cephas says: "If you are at such a low level, you can only think about today or tomorrow. We entice people to think ahead, to have a goal. Sometimes, you need an outsider to say, 'Look at the skills you've got!'"
Following on from a successful prototyping of the service in January, Barnet Council are now looking to further develop and test the approach by running two larger scale Community Coach projects in Barnet. Cephas Akuklu is also looking to establish a social enterprise to deliver Community Coaching. Looking beyond Barnet, thinkpublic is in talks with local authorities to bring the benefits of Community Coach to other neighbourhoods.