Residents of the wards of Gainsborough (Ipswich), Haverhill South and Kirkley (Lowestoft) have each formed a “People’s Forum” to identify common concerns, strengths and opportunities within their neighbourhoods in order to make their community an even better place to live.
The programme is funded by People’s Health Trust using money raised by HealthIntend society lottery through the Health Lottery. Residents are encouraged to develop a shared vision for their community and take control of the design, development and delivery of local initiatives that matter to them.
Each local People’s Forum has been working hard to lead the ‘Local Conversations’ project in their respective areas to ensure it continues to be fully participative. Key priorities identified include community activities, play equipment, life skills and wellbeing, children and young people and development of recreational spaces. All these suggestions have come directly from local people and local organisations through a number of community engagement events and activities.
Jo Whiting, Local Conversations project Officer at Community Action Suffolk, says:
“The residents of Gainsborough, Kirkley and Haverhill have worked hard to bring this idea to fruition. They have come forward with ideas and projects they believe will help to make their community an even better place to grow, live, work and age. We are very excited to be at this stage and to see things start to happen on the ground.”
John Hume, CEO of People’s Health Trust, says:
“The Local Conversations programme is a unique opportunity to ensure that local people are genuinely in control of their local initiatives. All too often we see project ideas being ‘passed down’ to local people with little sense of whether this is what local people want. The programme is about long-term engagement between local residents so that they can be in control. It’s what real grass-roots work should look like.”
The programme, which will last until at least 2018, has now begun with the launch of the first round of applications for three new local Community Funds, which form part of the overall investment. The Haverhill South, Kirkley and Gainsborough Community Funds are open until 29 February 2016. Local groups, organisations and charities undertaking projects that benefit local residents are encouraged to apply for up to £5,000 of funding.
Click here for information about the funding, to download guidelines and application forms.
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