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Local Conversations Programme

Local Conversations was a People’s Health Trust initiative which involved supporting residents to develop a shared vision for their community and take local action on issues that mattered to them. People’s Health Trust is an independent charity investing in local neighbourhoods to help create a society without health inequalities. It works closely with each of the regional and country lotteries raising money through The Health Lottery, and distributes grants.

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 benefitted from £1 million investment from the People’s Health Trust for this project shared across the following areas during the five years from 2016 until 2023.

  • Haverhill South
  • Kirkley, Lowestoft

Each area has its own People’s Forum, which was 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 were supported to develop aspirations, priorities and identify projects for their communities.

Haverhill South

The Local Conversation Project in Haverhill South has now ended. A legacy of the project run by the community can be found on Facebook here

This is a Facebook group page for the Clements area (not monitored) as is not linked with Community Action Suffolk.

The Local Conversation’ priorities were identified through discussion with the community and finding out what was important to them. The priorities were continually being tried and tested to make sure they reflected the community.

The priorities determined the areas of focus and helped the community to plan activities which delivered the aims of the Local Conversation and allocated funding.

Priority 1

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.

Priority 2

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.

Priority 3

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

Priority 4

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.

The project 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 residents.

Kirkley, Lowestoft

David Lawrence, Chair: [email protected]
Facebook: kirkleypeoplesforum

The Local Conversation had priorities that came from the community. They were created and agreed at consultations, formal and informal, with residents. They were continually being tried and tested to make sure they were current for the community.

The priorities helped the Kirkley People’s Forum plan activities which delivered the aims of the Local Conversation and to allocate funding.

Priority 1

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.

Priority 2

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.

Priority 3

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.

The project 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 distributed over £40,000 to local community groups supporting residents.