Stephanie Pritchard, Local Conversation Project Manager, speaks about how residents have adopted an agenda of taking control of their Local Conversation across their neighbourhood.
“Decision making through trust and empowerment has been the resounding theme over the past six months as our Local Conversation continues to thrive and evolve to meet the priorities of residents.
Local people are at the forefront of the decision-making process and are supported to build confidence and to feel comfortable with making decisions that affect their neighbourhood.
As economic conditions change in the area, reflecting the broader national picture of lower unemployment rates but increasing poverty rates, inequality continues to rise.
The importance of building social connections and creating opportunities are common themes that we hear from residents through engagement, reinforcing local priorities.
Through continuous engagement, local people have decided on three priorities to focus on: to encourage residents to plan and run community events, support young people to design activities for themselves and to support residents to access training and employment opportunities.
It has been a balancing act facilitating meetings and supporting members. People felt the steering group was too formal so it is now called Local Conversation Forum and the group has an informal vibe, meeting in local café’s so it feels less daunting. There are 11 members, equally representing each of the projects priorities. As the group slowly begins to take shape, its prominence within the local community is increasing.
The Cybi Events group was created to organise more events for the neighbourhood and has changed the social fabric of Holyhead, igniting a spirit within our community unseen for decades. They have attracted thousands of residents to their events and have organised inspirational activities that reached individuals previously unengaged with the Local Conversation Project in Holyhead.
The group is led by two young residents who are engaged, informed and inspired to make an impact locally. The group’s dynamic is one of enthusiasm for making change happen and strengthening connections in the town.
One of the major flagship events was the open-air cinema. The group had over five hundred responses on Facebook and the event was a huge success.
We also have a youth café, named by the young people as ‘the Pod’. It offers young people local opportunities for free to make friends, have a louder voice in decision-making, socialise, develop their skills and job opportunities and have fun.
It is also a space where members can request changes and activities, ask their peers to vote on whether they agree or disagree, and ask for further suggestions and ideas.
Involvement with the project is part of a journey of opportunity and many have developed new skills and made new friendships.
Residents have firmly adopted an agenda of taking control of their Local Conversation across their neighbourhood. It has taken time to develop a mechanism of support but local people are starting to feel confident to take action on things that matter to them.”
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