Tag: Low Hill

Lorna Wills – How attending Social Media Surgeries helped me find my place in my community

I first met Lorna Wills at the Low Hill Social Media Surgery in January. Recently I caught up with her again to see what had prompted her to come to a surgery in the first place and what she’s done with her new skills since then.

Lorna Willis

Lorna moved into the area 2 years ago and didn’t know that many people near where she lived, so she came along to the surgery wanting to learn how to use the internet to find out what things were going in her area. Things  that she could get involved with.  She had been attending her local neighbourhood watch meetings, but when the group tailed off she realised she wasn’t sure what she could get involved with next.

” I first found out about the surgeries only just in time to attend the last session in Low Hill but the people there were lovely and welcoming. I sat with someone and they showed me how to use twitter. They knew there were lots of people and groups using it locally and that I could use it to find out what was on going on in my area ….

…I’ve since joined the local Crimestoppers group as a voluntary member. I talked to Mac the organiser on twitter and went along to a meeting to find out more.

I’ve since traveled to Rugby for my induction and to the Crimestoppers conference in Warwickshire, which is where I met Chief Constable Andy Parker. Talking to Andy we discovered we had a mutual acquaintance, we got back in touch I’m now arranging to meet him too!

Those conversations on twitter have been a catalyst for all this. I have met some lovely people and improved my social life. 

I was feeling dissatisfied in the area, it didn’t seem that friendly, I found it was hard to make new friends in a new place. I think I’d come to realise you have to stay somewhere  couple of years to find your community but I just couldn’t meet people I could relate to before but now I have both at the surgery and people I’ve met by going online.

I used Twitter to find out about events locally, which I’ve attended and now I’m even helping to arrange our own event on Low Hill for local groups to a showcase their organisations. The surgeries played a big part in my taking part in all this, it has boasted my confidence, I’ve always been active but in my own and now I’ve met some lovely people to be active with.”


Social Media Surgeries building real world connections in Wolverhampton communities.

Low Hill Social Media Surgery 11th October 2012


For the last six months we have been involved in a project in Wolverhampton bringing Social Media Surgeries to different neighbourhoods across the city.   At the surgeries all the help we and the other surgeons give has been recorded on our Social Media Surgery + website, but what is been really interesting having attended every surgery in the city so far is watching  the things that have happened, and the connections made that weren’t recorded on the website – The things that aren’t just to do with social media.

Today for instance at the Low Hill surgery, a semi regular attendee Jaswinder (or Handsome to his friends), came along to learn more about twitter, but  what was quite strange, even by our standards, was he hadn’t come for help from one of the volunteer surgeons already there . He’d bought his own surgeon with him, Ian!   –  Handsome had been to previous sessions and seen the value of the surgeries as a place to come, have a cup of tea, learn and to meet new people, so he’d bought Ian along so that they could work together in an environment he felt comfortable in, but also so that Ian could meet people from the area too.

Then there was Lorna who also came along today. Lorna is new to Low Hill, moving back to England from overseas a few months ago. She wanted to come and learn how to use social media as she’d heard that was a good way to find out what was going on and to meet new people. Which of course it is and we helped her look at her options to find things she could get involved with online, but also while there she was introduced to Tony and George (pictured above).

Tony is the chair and George the vice chair of the Low Hill Community Association and they are charged with running the community centre and as such know all of the activities and events that take place there. As I left this afternoon Lorna was in the process of becoming a fully paid up member so she could join some of the groups and take part in activities running there – but also during the session we’d introduced her to Keith. Keith is a board member of the Low Hill and Scotlands LNP, who alongside myself (as a member of the board for Wednesfield and Falling Park LNP) and some of the LNP Neighbourhood wardens who were in attendance, told her about the work of the Local Neighbourhood Partnerships, Keith took her details and now he’s going along to their next board meeting. – She’d come for some help just to find out what was going on locally, and left signed up to two very active groups!

Then there was a surgery early on in the project that the local police sergeant attended. Sgt Gary Passmore. Gary came along to learn how to use a twitter account for his role in the police, he already had an account, but just needed some guidance on some of the functions and terminology. Around the same period of time there were some quite serious rumours doing the rounds about an attempted abductions locally.  I’d heard them as Low Hill borders Wednesfield so they’d been posted onto the WV11 facebook page, and despite many people openly questioning the validity and the variations of the posts (different coloured car, different locations etc) they just weren’t going away. Obviously people were worried so when some attendees of the surgery saw a police office present they chose then to question him about it.  Gary was great, he allayed peoples fears and was able to speak to some key members of the Low Hill community who could help spread the accurate information for him through their networks, and also I took the opportunity to post an update to the  WV11 facebook page at the same time – Gary had come for some technically support but left having managed to connect to his community and help stop the spread of a pretty nasty rumour in the process.

There are many more examples I could give you just like there,  members of the WFTA meeting people from Tenants and residents groups and finding out about local issues, Tenants and Residents connecting with newly established local social enterprises, Neighbourhood wardens meeting their communities and on, and I’m sure this isn’t unique to this one surgery.

This for me is the unrecorded hidden value of surgeries, it may start with a simple “How can we help you online?” but they quickly develop into interactions that can help shape communities in the real world. All of these interactions have nothing to do with the internet, online tools, social media etc but have everything to do with the people. All the surgeries do is bring these people together in the same room, with a common purpose and give them the opportunity to talk.

Why do people attend Social Media Surgeries?

Yesterdays Social media Surgery in Low Hill, Wolverhampton was attended by Jerome Turner, research fellow on the Creative Citizens research team at Birmingham City University. It was Jez’s first time at a surgery and he’d come with lots of questions for his research about why people chose to come along to either give or receive help.

Jez recorded some of the answers and shared them with us via  audioboo and you can listen to these below .

Patient Pat Fullwood came along for assistance setting up a Facebook page for her Neighbourhood Watch group and for support on a page she’d previously set up for the Long Knowle Community Association.

Jaswinder Singh Chagger (aka Handsome) came to look at how he could use Facebook and Twitter to connect with organisations across the city of Wolverhampton.

James Clarke from WV11.co.uk came along as a surgeon again and he said the thing that makes him keep coming back is being able to share his knowledge with others “opening their eyes to a whole new world”

Building civic engagement in Wolverhampton one neighbourhood at a time

Yesterday saw us host the first in a whole series of Social Media Surgeries we’re involved in around Wolverhampton.

It took place in an area of the north east of the city called Low Hill. It was set up and managed like all other social media surgeries except instead of being supported by just one organisation, it’s being supported by a partnership of public sector organisations from across the city that includes council departments and housing  associations.

The thinking behind this means we’re able to support a more diverse mix of people to benefit their communities and improve civic engagement across the city with input from lots of different areas.

Yesterday’s event was really well attended and, with support of “surgeons” from our public sector partners, were able to help:

One attendee on returning back to work even declared it the “best social media surgery ever“. I’m not sure we’re impartial enough to be the judge of that but I’m sure looking forward to the next one in Low Hill and the others due to be arranged across the city.