Listening to people in the community has proven to be very effective, having your voice heard can make a significant difference in communities. Through listening on a one to one basis, building trust respect and relationships many residents have become empowered to take control of their lives and make positive changes in communities.
Community meetings have become an essential way of building social capital, groups have been formed and power has been challenged. In Eccleston, community organisers have worked with a variety of groups on many different projects.
“Legal Gents” is a group of male substance misusers who have struggled with personal problems for many years, feeling powerless they decided to empower themselves through community meetings and project planning. Their goal was reduce the bad perception residents have of them through engaging in youth development, they organised fund raising with the local Fire Service and planned social days out. Engaging youth, parents and addicts they successfully inspired community cohesion and had lots of fun! Legal Gents have become empowered! Consequently they constituted their own organisation and are now developing a funding application with Safe Productions to continue their work into the future.
Listening in this particular area was challenging, one common comment was about the public right of way at the end of the street, during heavy rain the bank collapsed taking parts of the footpath with it; consequently it was blocked off by local authorities. Residents had been in contact with their local councillors about the issue and many claimed they had been complaining for just under a year, another concerned resident had told me about how her fence had also collapsed into the stream. We held a few house meetings and prioritised this concern as their first project, they then planned how they would go about tackling the issue. They contacted local councillors and other authorities like Environment Agency and the Water board. Unfortunately all bodies denied any responsibility and some residents believed certain emails suggested that they where responsible for the damage. After publishing the story in the local newspaper, councillors had agreed to attend our meeting which had a large turnout of residents. This process really showed how communities can influence people in power and at the same time create their own power source. The following day residents received a letter from the Councillors informing them money had been found in the local reserve, the work would be completed by the council under the Councillor Improvement Fund. The work was eventually completed a few weeks after the meeting, and a great job they did too.
If you have a similar concern in your community and want to do something about it, then contact your community organisers to find out how you can make positive changes in your community. Maybe you are unsure how? Or who to contact?
Community organisers are here to help facilitate the process, so make your voice heard, and Contact us today!
Remember this is your community!!!! We are here to help.
We welcome your questions and queries. Please see our Contact Us page for complete contact information.
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