Community engagement - working with communities
The chance for all members of a community to have a say in the decisions that affect where and how they live is now widely recognised as important. However, many people are often excluded from community engagement and consultation through poor planning, lack of understanding, and methods of engagement that are unintentionally difficult for people to participate in.
How Sensory Trust engages with communities
Sensory Trust has developed activities and techniques designed to enable people who normally have difficulty contributing to design and development processes to have their say and participate fully.
We create a positive and fun atmosphere to help people to think seriously about how they would like their places to be. For many people it's the first time they've been asked for their opinions. We engage people in activities and put on events at the site that people can enjoy and, while they enjoy them, we begin to gather real information on how they see their public spaces, in an open and non-threatening atmosphere free of conflict, frustration and plastic trees, preferably in the space we're talking about. Often, with Sensory Trust, public consultation is a walk in the park.
We understand the practical limitations that come from limited budgets, design constraints, deadlines and we are careful to keep expectations and results realistic. The reports we create from these consultations help identify priorities for action.
Inspiring people to get involved in their communities
Creative Spaces, using the outdoors to inspire communities to be dementia-friendly
Older people get the chance to influence the design of their new retirement housing
Disabled people get involved in making new sensory-rich spaces at the Eden Project
Giving project development support to community groups who are often left off the radar
With Trees for Cities, improving access and community links with London's ancient woods
Development of Audience and Access Plans helps Kent's Mote Park secure a major HLF bid
Helping Westonbirt Arboretum diversify its audience and improve the experience for all visitors
Community Engagement (pdf 299k): Involving local people in development decisions helps ensure that the eventual designs are appropriate, enjoyable, well used, and cared for by the community
Creative Spaces activity sheets: Ideas and activities that explore spending time outdoors with people with dementia
Can we help?
Sensory Trust runs consultancy in community engagement. Read more about our consultancy services >>