Friday, August 08, 2008

'Planning for Real' display at Old Goole Gala

The East Riding of Yorkshire Council has organised a ‘Planning For Real’ training day on 5 September.

Planning for Real uses simple models as a focus for people to put forward and prioritise ideas on how their area can be improved. It is a highly visible, hands-on community development and empowerment tool, which people of all abilities and backgrounds find easy and enjoyable to engage in.

A large 3-dimensional model of a neighbourhood is constructed, preferably by local people, using cardboard cut-outs for buildings pasted onto a base plan fixed to polystyrene or cardboard. The model is used at pre-advertised sessions held in various locations in the community.

Participants place suggestion cards on the model indicating what they want to see happen and where (eg playground, youth shelters, parking, standpipe, tree, shopping).

The cards are sorted and prioritised to establish an action plan which is followed up by working groups.

In the past training days were attended by a broad cross-section of people living and working in Goole, including representatives of Humberside Police, local councillors and representatives of the Waterways Museum, as well as council officers providing services directly to the people of Goole.

The aim of the training sessions is to equip volunteers from the local community with the skills that they need to help host a series of ‘Planning For Real’ community consultation events planned for the coming months, which will give residents of all ages a chance to have their say on issues affecting Goole. Planning For Real forms part of the wider Advance Goole project and is about improving the quality of life of local residents, as well as tackling the issues that concern them and involving them in planning for a brighter future.

Pupils in years four, five and six at Boothferry, Kingsway and Marshlands Primary Schools have already been busy constructing 3-D models that will be used as part of the ‘Planning For Real’ process. The finished models will be taken back into the three schools in September to encourage the children to discuss issues affecting their communities. Feedback received from them will be used as part of the consultation process.

(photo with ERYC's Helena Moss and Marshlands Primary School Head Teacher Mrs J Newby)

One of the models will also be on display as part of the Goole and Howdenshire Local Action Team (LAT) stand at Old Goole Gala on Sunday 17 August so that local residents can take a look for themselves and find out more about how they can get involved in ‘Planning For Real’.

Councillor Paul Robinson, Chairman of the Goole and Howden Local Area Action Team, said: "Planning For Real is a great way of getting residents of all ages to focus on the issues affecting their communities. The aim is to highlight issues of concern and trigger debate about how problems can be addressed to further improve the quality of life of local people. I hope that as many people as possible will take the opportunity to get involved and have their say.”

Anyone who would like to get involved in the Planning For Real workshop on 5 September should contact Michelle Oxtoby on 01482 391471.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

A New Joined Up Approach To Local Delivery of Services

Recently I accepted a new role as Chairman of the newly formed Goole and Howdenshire Local Action Team (LAT). The team is made up of senior representatives from each of the following organisations: Humberside Police, Humberside Fire and Rescue, the Primary Care Trust, the Voluntary Sector through Humber and Wolds Community Council, and ERVAS (which is the local development agency providing support to voluntary and community groups), plus a local Community Champion. I chair the team in my role as an East Riding of Yorkshire Councillor.

The role of the LAT is to adopt a partnership approach to local problem solving and engaging with the public on key issues with the aim to improve the quality of life of individuals and communities in their localities. It is envisaged that this new ‘joined up thinking and joined up activity’ approach that the LATs will provide will enhance the services delivered at the moment.

We have been tasked to implement new, inclusive and innovative ways of encouraging members of the community to become involved in looking at public service delivery in Howdenshire villages, through different forms of community engagement. The first of which was a LAT stand at the recent Howden Show. (pictured with Goole and Howdenshire LAT officer Tania Pells at Howden Show)

Examples where ‘joined up thinking and activity’ could really bring benefits are in both young and older peoples, projects where the Police, Fire and Rescue, Primary Health Care, Council, and voluntary sector are all presently working separately, to have a more united approach leading to less duplication, more targeted delivery and almost certainly more impact for the same given amount of money.

This is a very exciting challenge, something very new, and hopefully a mechanism where more decision-making can be brought down to the local level, enabling Howdenshire residents to have more say in those issues that affect them directly.