Residents from across Caia Park in Wrexham came together for an ambitious event to further develop a local vision for their neighbourhood.
The strategy day was organised by the Local Conversation in Caia Park and brought together a large section of people from different areas in the community to talk about what they want to see happen to improve their neighbourhood. It was the result of six months of conversational work in the community, establishing new and rekindling existing relationships.
Residents contributed great ideas to the day through roundtables, group work, discussions and different tasks throughout the day.
Kristian Losztyn, the development worker for the Local Conversation in Caia Park, said: “Like many locations across Great Britain, Caia Park has a unique socio-economic profile and is recognised by its people for its amazing landscape, culture, history and language.
“Developing a long-term vision for the area of Caia Park is a critical part of the Local Conversation programme which is addressing health inequalities in areas facing disadvantage across Great Britain.
“It was fantastic to see everyone support each other and show solidarity. For some, it was the first time they had done something like this and it ran late because everyone had so much to say, which we encouraged as they were enjoying using this public space to voice their own opinions and share community control.
“We did two sessions – one in the day and one in the evening – to cater to everyone and make sure everyone had a say. The aim was to retest our priorities and develop new ideas.”
As part of the Local Conversation, local residents decided on three priorities they want to address: safety and the environment, older people and young people. All these priorities build upon current strengths in the community, by offering volunteering and training / learning opportunities in order to maximise health and wellbeing in Caia Park.
Kristian continued: “There were a lot of good ideas that would benefit the community, including IT classes for older people, the need for a dedicated youth space and how we could improve green spaces.”
A steering group of local Caia Park residents - called Community Focus - engage with the community on an ongoing basis to research and develop the actions proposed under each priority. Residents then work together to agree on how to take these forward.
Kristian explained: “We had a pre-strategy meeting with the steering group to plan the day and agree on the agenda so it was completely resident-led.”
Andy Simon, Vice Chair of FC Queens Park is on the steering group. Talking about the strategy day, he said: “It was a great meeting with lots of great discussions that affected lots of local groups. It was superbly organised and very well represented by lots of community minded residents.
“We were provided with lots of information prior to the day and it was well publicised locally.
“To sum up, it was very successful and very interesting.”
Kristian continued: “It was such an encouraging and ambitious event, the perfect forum to develop resident ideas which will improve health by ensuring that control is collectively in the hands of local people.
“Caia Park residents are keen to work in partnership where possible, widening reach and sharing skills to fully embed collective control. We know that building positive and meaningful relationships with those active in the community is an essential part to our strategy.
“Everyone showed great community spirit, respect, leadership and dedication to our estate. Now, the challenge is to turn the ideas into action.”
The Caia Park Partnership (CPP) has been supporting the Local Conversation in Caia Park, Wrexham since 2016.
The Local Conversation is one of 20 place-based initiatives across Great Britain. The programme aims to address health inequalities by ensuring that control is in the hands of local people. It recognises the local wisdom and assets of residents and looks at the ways in which stronger relationships, improved confidence and aspiration, and control over money and resources support people to improve their health.
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