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Clay Futures - Sensory Trust's community consultation in the Clay Area

Project report March 2010 - reporting on the first year of the project

 

 

Community Capacity Building

Clay County Local Action Group
Project Report, March 2011

This project is increasing the social capital of villages across the Clay. We are working directly with people currently disengaged from their communities; whether by reason of age, income, disability, health or education. We are empowering people to become involved with existing projects or activities and/or develop and manage their own projects, increasing their confidence to contribute to their own communities.

This leads to enhanced self reliance, collective action and collective decision making within a community. It can therefore strengthen the capacity of a community to identify areas of interest around local opportunities and to respond to ongoing and existing development processes. Together these elements help to build sustainable and resilient rural communities.

The project has been running since January 2010 and is therefore now in its second year of a three year funding programme.

Achievements so far

Over the past 15 months, we have achieved 100% of our year 1 project specific outputs, and are on track to achieve all outputs for the second year of activity. This includes:

• engaging with 6 existing groups representing disengaged people.

• helping to initiate 2 new groups of individuals representing disengaged people.

• hosting or helping to host 19 events to encourage activity, inspire ideas and develop skills.

• Helping 6 new groups and individuals to generate new ideas and projects which previously disengaged groups and individuals will participate in.

Highlights include

• Ongoing advice and support for previously disengaged people living in St Stephen to initiate a community café. This includes supporting them in the formation of a social enterprise, identifying potential users and engaging young people in key project development phases.

• Advising on community engagement techniques and running specialist events to encourage all sections of the community to contribute to the development of ideas and concepts for their own community. This includes a community engagement event in February 2011 inviting the community around Par Beach to contribute to proposed developments in the area. This was highly successful, attended by 285 people contributing over 1000 pieces of information. The event itself was also supported by an engagement process with local schools Biscovey and Doubletrees representing young and disabled users of the Beach, who contributed a further 531 pieces of information. We are currently planning similar events in Treverbyn and Luxulyan.

• Engaging key stakeholder groups in agenda’s representing disengaged groups and individuals. For example, we have formed a community of interest around the provision of off road biking facilities in the Clay, including Cornwall Council representatives, police officers, land owners and the local bike shop. Sensory Trust activity has focussed on engaging with the young bikers to ensure that their voice is heard in this process, and encourage ownership of suggested solutions. We are achieving this by making a film with the young people.

• Hosting or helping to host a range of inspirational visits, training seminars and community events. This includes seminars at the Eden Project exploring healthy communities within the eco-town development and community hubs, targeting existing community groups as well as those we are supporting to become more involved in their community; and an inspirational visit to view other successful community cafes in Cornwall.

• Supporting village halls and church halls to extend their use to currently disengaged members of their communities. For example in Rescorla we have identified what is needed to encourage use by new user groups and supported them in developing plans for a new community space; whilst in Treverbyn we are providing community engagement expertise to identify potential users and demonstrate support from previously disengaged members of the community.

We continue to work closely with the other LAG funded projects in the Clay, bringing our expertise on engaging with all members of a community. In particular, we are starting to provide expertise on running community engagement events for example to support BMX provision in the County.

Conclusion

This project was devised in response to the need to build the capacity of communities and individuals identified through the Clay Futures consultations and the experiences of community workers in the area. In the first year the focus has been on identifying and developing communities, groups and individuals as well as projects, ideas, areas of focus, common threads and themes that can form the first steps to creating resilient and representative communities. The evidence to date demonstrates how we have built connections, fostered relationships and developed techniques within the area and experience has shown that with appropriate and ongoing support, training and investment disengaged people are starting to take an active role and contribute to their community.