The Local Conversations Programme is an innovative funding approach developed by People’s Health Trust who work to ensure that where people live does not unfairly reduce the length or quality of their life. The People’s Health Trust funds projects, using money raised by Health Lottery East through The Health Lottery to address health inequalities in Suffolk.
The Local Conversations Programme is a country-wide neighbourhood-led initiative which involves empowering local residents to determine how they can make their community an even better place to grow, live, work and age. The result is opportunities for projects focused on community benefit to be developed and delivered in order to improve the wellbeing of local people and promote the development of a sustainable and supportive community.
Aims of the Local Conversations Projects
- Provide opportunities for projects to be designed and directed by local people and participants.
- Create stronger connections between people living in Haverhill South and Kirkley.
- Enable people to make their communities even better places to live, to encourage social connections and activities.
- Improve the wellbeing of local people.
- Support local solutions to meet local needs.
- Promote community cohesion.
- Develop a sustainable and supportive community.
Suffolk has benefitted from £1 million investment from the People’s Health Trust for this project shared across the following areas over the next five years from 2016.
- Haverhill South
- Kirkley, Lowestoft
Each area has its own People’s Forum, which is made up of local resident volunteers inspired to work together to help create positive local action to make their communities even better places to live.
Delivered in partnership with Community Action Suffolk, the People’s Forums are being supported to develop aspirations, priorities and identify projects for their communities.
If you are interested in getting involved locally, or have a project or idea you would like to develop or discuss please contact:
Community Action Suffolk, Brightspace, 160 Hadleigh Road, Ipswich, IP2 0HH.
The Local Conversation’ priorities have been identified through discussion with the community and finding out what is important to them. The priorities are continually being tried and tested to make sure they reflect the community.
The priorities determine the areas of focus and help the community to plan activities which deliver the aims of the Local Conversation and allocate funding.
Improve and develop the use of outdoor community spaces
- People feel safe when using community spaces.
- The community spaces are well kept and inviting to all members of the community.
Support children and young people to be healthy, happy and to achieve their full potential
- Opportunities are created for all children and young people to engage with other members of the community and take part in activities.
- Children and young people are empowered and supported to develop their vision for the area and deliver it.
Build a strong connected community
- Create a space the community can meet and have say how it is run
- To develop and run their own activities and events
- To access service and connect on-line
Improve the environment we live in.
- Promote and develop activities to show the community’s pride in the area.
- To work in partnership with others to maintain and improve the local area.
So far the project has built a BMX pump track, held numerous community activities including family cooking sessions, craft events, parenting sessions, hosted a community lunch and given over £60,000 to local groups to support our residents.
Matthew Grafton, Designated Community Development Worker Kirkley: Matthew.email@example.com
The Local Conversation has priorities that have come from the community. They were created and agreed at consultations, formal and informal, with residents. They are continually being tried and tested to make sure they are current for the community.
The priorities help the Kirkley People’s Forum plan activities which deliver the aims of the Local Conversation and allocate funding.
Enhancing the environment
- Improve our public parks, gardens and buildings, well-kept and safe spaces
- Promote and develop projects such as gardening clubs, litter picks and front garden clubs.
Training and Education
- Helping residents of Kirkley learn skills which will improve their way of life and raise their aspirations.
- Resilience and sustainability of groups will be increased by up-skilling volunteers.
Community activities and events
- Organising or attending an activity or event while helping to build community connections.
- Strong community connections have a significantly positive impact on quality of life.
So far the project has provided a free space for community groups to meet, held numerous community activities including cake decorating, photography club, bring & swap, litter picks, bulb planting at Fen Park and distributing over £40,000 to local community groups supporting residents.