Local Conversation creates change in St Mary's

03 November 2015

Excitement is building in St Mary’s, Southampton, as residents start to take control of the neighbourhood to make it a better place to grow, live, work and age. 

West Itchen Community Trust (WICT) has secured funding of £350,000 over the next three years from People’s Health Trust - with money raised by HealthShape through The Health Lottery.

The investment has been awarded through the Local Conversations programme – a People’s Health Trust initiative which involves supporting residents to develop a shared vision for their community and take to take local action about the things which matter to them.

Hundreds of residents in St Mary’s have already been involved in the project through mail drops, house visits, pop-up stalls, workshops, neighbourhood walks and a fun day.


Photos of members of St Mary's Local Conversation group

WICT has also visited the local school and youth club to encourage young people to come forward with ideas that they will help to bring to life.

This process uncovered important issues and stories detailing concerns which affect local people such as a need for more activities, parking and security.

A number of priorities have been identified including bringing the community together, a community small grants fund and improving social spaces.

A local steering group is now being set up to discuss issues and involve the wider community in finding solutions that make real and lasting change.

Gulzar Sharif, Deputy Chief Executive at West Itchen Trust said:

“Since this programme started many ideas have been suggested by residents which have the potential to really make St Marys a great place to be.

“We are looking forward to seeing many more people actively involved in dreaming, designing and leading on local projects.”

John Hume, Chief Executive of People’s Health Trust said:

“Local people know what is best for them and as this project develops it will be great to see residents in St Mary’s get more involved in their local community.

“This is a chance for local people to really take control of the design, development and delivery of the local initiatives.”

Read more news from the Trust here.

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