Monday, 28 May 2012

Community First Panels

I didn’t notice there was to be a public meeting to begin to recruit a Community First Panel for the Yarborough Ward (which is most of the area served by St Michael’s), but now learn that only five people attended it, so I may well not be the only one who missed the relevant announcement in the local paper and the local authority’s website.

The Panel is still in formation, but the first members have established some priorities for the Ward - recognising that this was a holding operation ahead of a funding deadline and that these priorities might change as there is wider community engagement in setting them and in developing a Community Plan. The four priorities are: activities for children and young people; creating safer streets and neighbourhoods; helping older people live more active lives; and getting more people involved in community activities.

The very small amount of funding available (an initial grant has been made to Brownies in the Laceby Acres area) may not be that important in itself if in fact this proves to be the catalyst for filling a major gap in the local authority’s Neighbourhood Development strategy by having some sort of representative forum (or ‘Forward’) for the disparate communities of this particular Ward; it is difficult to think of the credibility of a Community Plan without such a body.  Following some of this through, I see elsewhere on the local authority’s website that 'the function of Neighbourhood Forums' is spelt out as 'far more than just being a user group for service providers, nor is it just about holding service providers to account - its function is collaborative, so that all parties round the table can contribute to achieving best outcomes for all parts of the Ward'.

It is getting on for a year since I blogged about what was then called Neighbourhood Management
( and it would be really good if this was taken forward. I'll go along to the Panel meeting int he middle of next month and see.  I find that Voluntary Action North East Lincolnshire (VANEL) has got even further stuck into supporting these sorts of development by hosting a new platform at on which it hopes a whole picture of the Ward, Community First and Neighbourhood Development will accumulate, and I ought to look into how to contribute to tht as well.

Meanwhile, Freshney Forward continues to flourish in the neighbouring Ward (most of which is the area served by St Nicolas’) and was able to act as the body to appoint members of the Community First Panel there for which there were more applicants than places. The five priorities there are: to provide sustainable activities for the full range of residents with particular emphasis on young people; to promote social well being in a safe and secure environment; work towards improving and promoting pride in the local environment; to reduce health inequalities; and to increase the cohesion of the diverse communities within the Ward, thereby improving the economic well being of all. VANEL’s new platform has been established there as well at

We spotted this inscription about earlier forms of community involvement when we were in Stoke-sub-Hamdon the other week.

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