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Summer 2019

Welcome to the ECI Summer Newsletter. Before you go on your summer holidays it is worth taking a look at some of the developments in ECI. We are proud of our achievements in supporting people, often at a very difficult time in their lives. We continue to play an important role in the life of the city, helping people on low income and working with others challenging homelessness and inequality.

We are grateful for the support of the members of our Friends of ECI scheme who make a regular donation to the charity. You can find out more about this by visiting

Our work will continue over the summer. The Jelly shop and office will be open. I look forward to meeting many of you at our Annual Review meeting in November, if not before.

Best wishes

Steven Chown

Steven Chown
Chief Executive

Ripple Effect PHOTOBEATZ Exhibition


Exeter Community Initiatives’ Ripple Effect are pleased to present their exhibition of Photography and Artwork created by our participants and members of the Exeter community.  The exhibition is currently running at the Barnfield Theatre between 4 July – 8 August.  The gallery will be open 10am-4pm (Monday – Friday) & 10am -2pm (Saturday).  It is FREE entry.

Framed prints are available for £10 each and there will be some greeting cards available too, please contact Jola on or 01392 285280 for purchase information.  All funds raised go directly back into the Ripple Effect to help fund future projects.

Venue: The Barnfield Theatre (Main Foyer), Barnfield Rd, Exeter. EX1 1SN

Check out the PHOTOBEATZ film of the participants compiled by Tony at Apple.

Big thanks to our partners Apple and Cornwall College.




Transitions Student Placement

Transitions provides volunteer mentoring support for people going through a transition of some sort or who feel vulnerable or isolated. For the past three months Jelena, a post grad student studying for her Masters in Social Work at Plymouth University, has been on placement with Transitions. Jelena was extremely positive about her time with Transitions. “I found it a great experience and a supportive environment. I learnt a lot about working with clients, services and agencies. I attended meetings, made initial consultations and match meetings, and built a good relationship with clients and volunteers. It has been a fantastic learning experience. Thank you.”

Thanks Jelena for all your hard work!

Devon Family Resource – Happy Families, Happy Futures

The Happy Families, Happy Futures project has already helped a number of families across Devon. An experienced Family Support Worker guides the parents through a well researched course to help them remodel their communication skills so they can reduce the amount of conflict in their households.

The project works with couples who are still together or who have split up, but struggle to communicate with each other.

“We are getting a very positive response from the parents we have worked with so far” said Caroline Ward, Coordinator for the Project. “We are also getting a lot of enquires from Schools who have parents that they want to refer to us.”

If you would like more information on the project or have a family you would like to refer, please contact Caroline Ward on 07572 946235.


Parent Progression Team at the North Devon Homes Customer Summer Fayre

The North Devon Parent Progression Team will be attending the North Devon Homes Customer Summer Fayre on the 31st July, 11am until 3pm at Barnstaple Rugby Football Club, Barnstaple, North Devon, EX31 1JH

We will have a stand there so if anyone would like to meet the team to talk about support into volunteering/training/paid work then please come and find us

The event is FREE but you can register here or call customer care team on 01271 312500


Tim and Al’s Nello! – Fundraising for ECI

Two of ECI’s trustees Tim Goodwin and Alan Broughton did a fantastic job raising money for ECI by riding in the The Nello 2019 “Il Ventesimo.

Tim raised £1147 and Alan raised £1000 through our Local Giving page.

Tim said “It was a good day… not an easy ride, but I finished in better shape than I expected!  Thanks in large part to Alan who suggested riding the difficult sections ahead of time.  Great advice!  All in all a great day! To top it off we beat our goal—and there are still donations coming in.  The feedback from the staff at Exeter Community Initiatives is that they feel a real boost of energy and support for the efforts they make.  Your support really has made a difference and they are so appreciative.”

If you are interested in raising money for Exeter Community Initiatives, please take a look at our Local Giving page. There are so many ways you can make a difference be it through bike rides, marathons or cake sales! Your support makes a huge difference to the work we do.

Thanks to Tim and Alan from everyone at ECI.

Fore Street Flea

ECI were delighted to be chosen as the nominated charity for the Fore Street Flea which took place on 30th June 2019.

We had an open day for our children’s charity shop Jelly and ECI staff and trustees were on hand to answer questions about our work. We also had a stall selling arts, crafts, cakes and plants made by our talented staff and supporters. A big thank you to the Fore Street Traders for choosing us.

Friends of ECI Event – Thank you

Thank you to everyone who came to our Friends Event on 22nd May. It was great to see old friends and new. A special thank you to Reverend Sheila Swarbrick for generously donating the space and the parishioners of the Central Parish Churches for organising the cream teas!

Annual Review Meeting – Save The Date!

Our Annual Review Meeting is provisionally booked for
Wednesday 13th November, 4-7pm. 
Venue to be confirmed. Watch this space!


Ways you can Support our Work

Donate: You can support us with a donation by visiting our Local Giving page.

Volunteer: We are always on the look out for new volunteers to get involved with our projects.  To find out about our volunteering opportunities please visit

Become a Friend of ECI: Support our work with a regular donation by becoming a Friend of ECI.  To find out more come to our event on 22nd May detailed above or visit




Spring 2019

Encore! Huge success for Ripple Effect Theatre Group

The Ripple Effect is a project that provides meaningful activity programmes for anyone in Recovery.  We enable people to engage in meaningful opportunities that can increase their sense of well-being and confidence to make changes in their lives.

The Ripple Effect Theatre Group took to the stage with their production of PUNCH & JUDY – a personal portrayal about domestic abuse. It was powerful & emotive … and transformative in some cases. Their performances were inspiring and their hard work in developing the production really paid off. It was an honour to work with such amazing and resilient human beings and we’re looking forward to developing the next production with them. Photos by the awesome Tony Walker.

If you would like to get involved with the Ripple Effect Theatre Group or have some theatrical/drama skills you would like to share with the group please get in touch or 01392 284280.

Read more

Don’t Forget! You are warmly invited to the Friends of ECI Afternoon Tea and Talk

Hear more about the work of Exeter Community Initiatives. We have been at the heart of the community for over 25 years supporting people facing poverty, inequality and homelessness. There will be presentations and displays about current ECI projects. Find out what we are doing to help people in recovery, children and families and supporting communities across Exeter.

Speaker: Steven Chown – Chief Executive

Wednesday 22nd May
3.00 – 4.30pm
St. Stephens Church, High Street, EX4 3LW
RSVP by Tuesday 14 May 2019 – 01392 205800 –
Refreshments and cream tea will be served.

The Friends of ECI scheme makes an extremely important contribution to the income of the charity. We appreciate your on-going support. We would love to see you on the 22 May to say thank you; and, raise awareness of our work to people who may not have heard of ECI. Please bring a friend.

Jelly – The Charity Shop For Children Needs You!

Jelly, ECI’s children’s charity shop is looking for Volunteers. We aim to offer volunteers a safe environment to build confidence, learn new skills, develop social competencies and find a pathway out of social isolation.

What our Volunteers Say:

‘I’ve loved volunteering at Jelly. Everyone has made me feel welcome, and I’ve always been greeted with smiles. The experience has really helped build up my confidence and given me a sense of purpose. I’m very grateful to Jelly.’

‘A fun and friendly place to work’

Volunteers can do iHasco courses, such as data protection and manual handling at Jelly. They learn to work as part of a team. This all improves employability.

If you’d like to find out more about volunteering please contact Sam or Dawn on 01392 435835 or visit

Parent Progression – One year of the service

The Parent Progression Project is a new and exciting initiative that is countywide for Exeter Community Initiatives and is run in partnership with Action for Children & Devon County Council. This project is a predominately targeted Early Help support for parents with children aged 8 and below who would like to develop their skills in training, becoming a volunteer, work experience or having a paid job.  The project supports the journey for each parent particularly around confidence building, easing anxiety and maintaining stability.

After almost a year in service we are proud to have supported 113 Parents!

To find out more please visit

Community Builders New Website!

The Community Builders is a team of twelve, managed and mentored by Exeter Community Initiatives, who are active throughout the community. The builders take an Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) approach, using local strengths, organisations and passions as a starting point for enabling greater connection, activity, and collective support.  The Community Building project is central to the Wellbeing Exeter model which runs alongside the social prescribing work.

To find out more please visit our website

Devon Family Resource – Happy Families, Happy Futures

ECI have been awarded subcontractor delivery of the Happy Families, Happy Futures pilot programme commissioned by the DWP and managed by TWIN. The programme includes a range of interventions to support parents who are together, or separated, with relationships that are in conflict. It will be a Devon Family Resource (DFR) project, running until March 2021.

In the course of their work, family support workers have observed a real shortage of services to support parents in conflict, so this programme makes a welcome addition to our services and will help us to achieve our aim of increasing the well-being and happiness of families and children across Devon.

For further information, visit or speak to DFR Manager Sachia Hylton-Smith on 01392 205800

Transitions secures grant from National Lottery Community Fund

We are delighted to announce our Transitions project has secured a grant from the National Lottery Community Fund over a period of five years.  The money will support the work of Transitions which works with people who face multiple disadvantage to help them become more independent and resilient.  The approach is to encourage people to take responsibility for their own mental and physical well being and to build stronger connections within their neighbourhood.  Transitions helps to develop a range of skills and resources to enable people to manage change, live more independently and improve the quality of their lives.

To find out more about Transitions visit







Ways you can Support our Work

Donate: You can support us with a donation by visiting our Local Giving page.

Volunteer: We are always on the look out for new volunteers to get involved with our projects.  To find out about our volunteering opportunities please visit

Become a Friend of ECI: Support our work with a regular donation by becoming a Friend of ECI.  To find out more come to our event on 22nd May detailed above or visit





  Autumn 2017

Could strong communities hold the key to happiness?

THE need for strong communities has never been greater according to findings in a city-wide survey by ECI.

The Big Listen was carried out as part of the Wellbeing Exeter project to try and find what people value in their everyday lives.  ECI’s community development manager Carole Pilley said they deployed a team of ‘Listeners’ around the city centre and across parks and play areas.

“We found that one of the key themes to emerge was community. People really do place a high value on living with a good community around them,” she added.

The work, which was carried out over the summer period, involved a team of Listeners going to a number of locations around the city to interview people and record their views.  More than 1,000 ‘listenings’ were recorded.  As well as valuing community, many people, had chosen to live in Exeter because of its rural location.

“People like that it’s a small compact city,” said Carole. “They feel safe and they like the close proximity to the sea and the moors.  Quite a few people said the like the way that some parts of Exeter almost have the feel of a village,” she added.

The questions were : What do love about where you live? What would make it better? How do you keep yourself well? (what is important to you in order to look after yourself?).

Carole said it was essential that the survey was carried out in person rather than doing it online, as many surveys are now done.

“It’s really important to do that face to face research, to listen and to have that conversation. We wanted to make sure they were really engaged to get them to properly consider the questions.  It was also interesting to encounter people from other parts of the county who didn’t live here and so had different views but still gave a really interesting insight.”

The information is now being collated and a full report will be available later this year.  The Wellbeing Exeter project is an  initiative for public, voluntary and  community organisations to better support people who visit their GP for social rather than medical reasons.

GP link helps ease pressure for doctors

ECI’s pilot project to help reduce doctors waiting lists by offering social support is already making a significant impact.

Family support worker Sanchia Hylton-Smith, who coordinates the innovative GP Link in Wonford and Whipton said she was delighted with the results so far.

“I am really enjoying it. It’s been great to watch the changes in people – some of them are quite substantial,” she said. “I can already see they’re not presenting to doctors anything like as much.”

The work, largely with mothers, is usually around challenging behaviour from their children but she also offers practical help and advice with issues such as housing and finance.  She works through parenting techniques with some of the mothers and has seen noticeable changes in just a few months.

“Obviously we did very thorough research before we started this project but it’s clear that this sort of service is even more needed than we realised.”

The scheme has already been so successful that Sanchia’s client list is full and she has a waiting list.  GP’s are also using her as a resource hub and are approaching her for support to give to their patients.

“Some parents are in despair, they have tried so hard with rewards charts – they feel at their wits end,” she said.   “I can help them with techniques but I can sign post them to resources that some doctors are simply not aware of because that’s not their job.”

Sanchia also supports patients or their children with managing their emotions.  In some cases they have no idea of all the resources and support available at children’s centres.

“Often parents worried about challenging behaviour push their GP’s for a diagnosis, partly just to get more help,” said Sanchia. “But whatever the issues, it is still helpful to learn new parenting skills to deal with the child they have, to manage their behaviour.

“I have seen positive result in the people I work with – who are definitely making less visits to the doctor – but also we are helping doctors by signposting them to resources for other patients.”

ECI chief executive Steven Chown said: “As far as we’re aware GP Link is the first project that links social prescribing and family support. It’s already proving a success and one we hope to scale up in the future.”

ECI supporters help secure partnership

ECI has been selected from hundreds of local charities to become a charity partner of TSB Bank thanks to a fantastic response from our supporters.   More than 27,000 of the bank’s customers, partners and people in local communities across Britain were asked to nominate their favourite charity.

Only 458 charities were eventually selected nationwide.   Steven Chown, chief executive of ECI, said he was delighted at the opportunity.

“We are really pleased to have been selected as we know there are many organisations that applied for this.   But we are also very touched that so many of our supporters took the time and trouble to vote for us.

“We are looking forward to working with TSB and reaching even more people across Exeter.”

Annual Ripple Fair celebrates recovery

THE annual Ripple Recovery and Wellbeing Fair celebrated its best attendance ever.  The event, in partnership with EDP, was held at Poltimore House, on the outskirts of Exeter.

As ever the success of the event was largely due to the generosity of people who donated their time.  Ripple project co-ordinator Lee Chivers said:

“There was a really great atmosphere and it was great to see so many people there.  This kind of thing is so important for helping people build their social networks and helping them develop their confidence.

To find out more about ways to stay positive in  recovery contact Ripple  Effect Devon on 01392 284280.

Thank you Riverford and White Stuff


WE would like to say a huge thank you to Riverford  Organics and to White Stuff for their fabulous support.

The team at the Exeter branch of the High Street store and all at White Stuff Foundation who continue support us in all we do with their fund raising which is invaluable to us.

In the last three months they have collected £650.49 through running fundraising activities in the shop.

Thank you also to Matt the Exeter veg man at Riverford Organics for the generous donation of two boxes of fabulous local vegetables for our Ripple Recovery Fair.

We rely so much on the generosity of local business for these kind of events and it was really appreciated.  If you are a local business and would like to contribute some food or soft drinks for Ripple events in the future it is always appreciated.

For more information please speak to Jane or Lee on 01392 284280.