Barnsley MBC has established a consistent approach to engaging with communities through its ward alliances. These groups give councillors a strong community leadership role as well as equally sharing decision-making with community representatives. Through these arrangements Barnsley has inspired a social action movement; residents are getting involved in making a difference in their community. The council has become an enabler of community-led asset-based solutions.
Blackpool’s drink, drugs and mental health problems are more severe than anywhere else in the country. An innovative movement is helping divert vulnerable citizens away from addiction and into a social enterprise café. The café, known as the Camerados ‘Living Room’, helps residents to find friends and purpose, engaging them with services to get their lives back on track and reducing their impact on health, policing and recovery services. Started with a small grant, the café is now becoming self-sustaining.
City of London Corporation
The Time Credits programme is a partnership between the City of London Housing Department, Spice Innovations and tenants and residents of the 13 City of London housing estates. Tenants earn time credits for every hour of time they give to their community through volunteering. They can spend these accessing mutual support or activities in more than 60 local leisure, sports, arts and learning venues. This has led to more engaged residents, better neighbourliness and improved relationships.
Durham’s ‘Altogether Safer’ community resilience project works in partnership with communities and businesses, helping them to react immediately to flooding to minimise its impact. This approach reduces the cost of rectifying damage and the emotional costs of enduring avoidable emergencies. Innovative projects have encouraged children and young people, whose needs are often overlooked, to become involved, ensuring they are better prepared for flooding. Residents work together to develop tailored local plans and local champions raise awareness and support the development of emergency flood plans.
North East Lincolnshire Council
North East Lincolnshire Council’s priorities to create a stronger economy and stronger communities have been brought alive through a comprehensive programme of community engagement and involvement. Defining assets as both physical buildings and people has driven significant change, to the benefit of its citizens. The transfer of council-owned assets to the community is a great example, with two new hubs in some of the most deprived wards in the country operating with the community at their heart and offering tremendous social value as a direct result of delivering core services, such as issuing bus passes.
North Yorkshire CC
North Yorkshire’s Stronger Communities programme exemplifies how the council is building creative, sustainable relationships with its communities to reduce demand on public services. North Yorkshire is creating outstanding community infrastructure, including libraries, support groups for the elderly and young, and transport, which it supports financially, providing a lifeline for services to a county of this size and complexity. It is working in collaboration and achieving innovative solutions that buck the national trend and add resilience and relevance to its prevention agenda.
Sheffield City Council
Activity Sheffield is a health and wellbeing service from Sheffield City Council. Community involvement is at its heart. Sheffield invests in communities to help them to help themselves. Activity Sheffield supports individuals and community groups to set up and run health and well-being activities such as ‘knit and natter’, mental health ‘tell and share’ sessions, disability sports, walks, sports for women and girls, and gentle exercise. Activity Sheffield is not an initiative but an established way of working.
Locality working brings people together to work collaboratively and innovatively in equal partnership, creating co-produced solutions that make full use of the physical and human assets, skills, financial resources and community spirit that thrives within Trafford’s neighbourhoods. Underpinned by an asset-based community development approach and extensive community engagement, locality working aligns strategic priorities and intelligence with the voice of local communities, influencing how services are delivered, where resources are used and what residents can do to support their community.
‘The Deal’ is Wigan’s approach to delivering public services in a mutually beneficial partnership with its residents. The council commits to a series of pledges and in return residents and businesses play their part. From litter picks to community hubs, growing projects to digital investment companies, The Deal is thriving. A £7.5m community investment fund is sustaining community services and ‘have your say’ sessions enable residents to speak directly to the council leader and chief executive. The Deal has become a gold standard nationally for genuine community involvement.
Kirsty Cole, deputy chief executive, Newark and Sherwood DC
Adrian Lythgo, chief executive, Kirklees Council
Mike Suarez, chief executive, Cheshire East Council