Category Archives: News

March Community Meet Up – a few notes

Shelly shares the backstory to the newly refurbished Village Hall









Some of the challenges Community Associations/Organisations face

  •  adopting local phone boxes
  • running a community centre – its management can suck resources leaving little time for the community üüü (Pinhoe have a community hub and a community Association, in St David’s there is the St David’s neighbourhood partnership and the Exeter Community Centre Trust)
  • acquiring a new community building
  • involving a diverse community üü – how to consult and young people – identifying needs and involvement
  • handovers when people leave e.g. leases and managing ongoing responsibilities
  • measure impact
  • engaging students who are transient
  • how to engage other community groups
  • help to set up and promoting what we do
  • growth of communities – new development

Feedback on Parks and opens spaces strategy development to ECC

  • needs to integrate into everyday activity
  • how will it link to Exeter’s Community Strategy?
  • have a round table discussion on parks and open spaces – informal and in depth
  • start with ‘what we like’
  • how does air quality consultation feed into this?
  • and relate to other strategies?
  • how to involve those who find it hard to be active? How does it rely on those who can’t get round easily?
  • how to be involved in the strategy drafting – with community organisations?
  • youth strategy – tie to this activity and involvement in design and implementation
  • land ownership – kept in public ownership – a community land trust? to hold land in perpetuity and generate income?
  • definition of a green space – what’s involved? – gardens? evaluation of trees – what do we have?
  • access to green spaces – increasing restrictions e.g. Ducks Meadow, university and developers are closing access and parking restriction
  • Transport, consistent polices on issues e.g. permissions by both Council e.g. memorial benches need to be consistently applied
  • Need reply to emails and access to information and permissions – names contacts would be helpful
  • no green space is ‘pinched’ until there is a policy for the area – developers think they have rights over any green space
  • new estates – how to mobilise community to look at it and communication
  • income generation to be financially viable – look at case studies e.g. NESTA
  • events and café on Parks
  • heritage features in parks and gardens are important.

Can you lend an ear for the Big Listen Summer 2017?

“This summer we are planning, as part of the Wellbeing Exeter project, to carry out listenings with residents across Exeter to find out what people love about their community and what they do to look after their wellbeing.

We want to know about what people get up to; groups that people belong to; activities that people engage with and to find out what they value about their community.

We are going to do this by recruiting Community Listeners who will engage with people by going to community events and in to public spaces such as parks. They will set up pop-up listening posts and organise games and activities to encourage people to talk to them.

We are looking for people who are comfortable with striking up conversations with people from all walks of life and are interested in people and their communities. We will provide training and support with this role.

The days and hours for the roles are flexible according to when things are happening in the community. The Community Listeners will work in pairs and be supported by our Community Builders Team. We are interested in hearing from individuals or community groups who may wish to take up the opportunity to generate some income for their group.

For individuals, if this is something that you feel would be of interest then please send a CV and covering letter to For Community Groups please send a letter explaining what you are about, how you are organised and how you would be able to help with the Big Listen.

Read the Listener role job descritpion here: Listener role

If you are unsure and would like further information then please call or text Carole Pilley on 07821 475604″

New home for Exeter Green Partnership worker

Stella Cahill has joined Exeter Community Initiatives as the Exeter Green Partnership Project Worker. This is a continuation of the role started with Exeter Parks Watch to promote community engagement in community parks and green spaces. Stella has been working with a number of groups across the city and supporting the It’s Your Neighbourhood project in Exeter.

We have to thank Sue Lawrence and Exeter Park Watch for getting communities more active in looking after parks and open spaces.  ECI is keen to involve more community groups in the Green Partnership to share skills, ideas and resources. We will looking at dates at the end of May to follow up the meeting in February of community groups involved in looking after green spaces

Stella can be contacted on

To find out more about the Exeter Green Partnership visit: or follow via Facebook or Twitter @_ExeterGreen

March news

Newsletter to ECF members on 3rd March 2107

A reminder that the next meeting of the Exeter Community Forum is next week Tuesday 7th March 7-8.30pm at Sylvania Hall!

Mincinglake Country Park, Exeter, off Stoke Hill almost opposite the bottom of Collins Road. EX4 7DR see

“Making sense of the new big picture and what it might mean for communities”

We will be joined by Jill Day from Exeter City Council’s Planning team, she’ll explain about the ‘Greater Exeter Strategic Partnership’ being set up by Teignbridge, Mid-Devon, East Devon and Exeter Councils to put together a new land use plan for these areas until 2040. Jill will also explain how this process relates to the current land use plan in Exeter.

We will look at how communities be involved in the new planning process?  You can find out more about the draft statement of community involvement here. You don’t have to be an expert on planning just be able to talk about your community’s experience of planning. Please let me know who from your organisation will be attending.

Exeter a young people friendly City!  Exeter City Council, Devon County Council, Exeter Community Forum and  other partners have researched the needs and aspirations of young people aged 10-25 in the Exeter area, and have identified some clear priorities  to make Exeter a great place to live and work for its young residents.REad the report here and let know if someone from your organisation will join the launch event at Exeter Guildhall on Wednesday 22nd March, 6pm-9pm.

Community Builders update! Some 20 people turned out on a cold and blowy night to join the Community Builders Q&A meeting. Thank you! We’ve put the notes up here and added in some data sets too. ECC planning  department will provide information about the location of new housing developments – which I’ll post when I get them. Remember: The deadline for applications is 12 noon on 20th March

We’re delighted that Polsloe Community Association has been reestablished. The ECF steering group have approved their request for full membership of the Forum. Welcome!

If you applied for a free TEDx community ticket – well done! There are one or two unclaimed tickets. So if someone from your community organisation would like an Exeter City Council sponsored tickets for 21st April at the University Alumini to see live streamed Ted x! (Including lunch!) Then contact Dawn – quick!

Last, but certainly not least, we have written a few words to remember Cllr Paul  Bull who has contributed so much to the work of communities and the Exeter Community Forum.
I look forward to seeing you next week.

Paul Bull – living out cooperative values

Sadly, Councillor Paul Bull passed away on Sunday 19th February 2017.

Paul was the Labour and Cooperative Councillor for St Thomas and Portfolio Holder and Lead Councillor for Communities and Culture.

Paul was true to the co-operative values he cared about – shown by his deep commitment to community action.  Paul encouraged and supported the range of community initiatives – from small scale community composting, tree planting to the development of community associations, sports groups and community enterprises.

Paul believed in a ‘bottom up approach’, listening to community associations, many frustrated by the planning system. Cormac Russell has said that community development can only take place at the speed of trust. Paul’s integrity enabled that trust to grow in Exeter.

Paul’s patient leadership paid off – bringing Councillor and officer colleagues together with community organisations to form the Community Forum and agree a community strategy. Not just a document – but a joint commitment to the value of relationships and community action in our diverse communities and working out together what that means in practice.

A pleasure to work with, a valued community leader, an encourager and enabler.

We thank you.


ECF February newsletter

Sent to ECF full and associate members on 7th February 2017:

This is a bit of a bumper newsletter – about Community Builders, ECF’s next meeting about the Council’s new plans for planning, Grass Roots Grants a meeting about Green Spaces and  *free* tickets for Ted X… so time for a strong cup of tea and a read!

Community Builders

After a lot of deliberation and talking with others the Steering Group have put together a detailed plan for deploying a team of Community Builders across the City.

Find out everything you need to know is here and the pages under that heading.

Get your community involved, speak to other community groups in your area and express your interest in a community builder for your neighbourhood!

The deadline for applications is 12 noon on 20th March

There will be a Community Builders Questions & Answers on 23rd February 7:30 – 9:00pm at Newcourt Community Center, Blakeslee Drive, The Rydons, Exeter, EX2 7FN
Please let us know if you can come – and what your question is!

Next meeting of Exeter Community Forum:
“Making sense of the new big picture and what it might mean for communities”Tuesday 7th March 7-8.30pm at Sylvania Hall

Mincinglake Country Park, Exeter, off Stoke Hill almost opposite the bottom of Collins Road. EX4 7DR see

The ‘Greater Exeter Strategic Partnership’ is being set up by Teignbridge, Mid-Devon, East Devon and Exeter to put together a new land use plan for these areas until 2040. We’re asking how should communities be involved in the new plan? 

For more information and the Council’s draft statement of community involvement see the website:

We will also look at the emerging Community Builders plan. If there’s any other issues you’d like on the agenda please let me know.

Grass Roots Grants

The new grants panel considered the first round of grants – not an easy job! The panel’s recommendations are now going through Exeter City Council’s decision making processes.

Details of the grants rounds for 2017 will be announced and the information on the website updated before the end of February. Thank you to people who provided feedback on our first round.

As a member of the Forum please do encourage other community organisations in your area to apply for funds. There will be a special round in the autumn for larger capital grants. We are especially interested to see joint applications from community organisations working with larger organisations to run projects or deliver services together. Please look at the different programmes and criteria carefully. See:  Celebrating Exeter’s Green Spaces

Thursday 16th February 18:00 – 20:00 Co-lab, Wat Tyler House

Exeter Green Partnership (on behalf of Exeter Parks Watch) and Exeter CVS would like to invite you to a networking event to celebrate the groups who look after the green spaces in Exeter. Details here:
Please  RSVP to Stella  by Friday 10th February

TEDx FREE tickets for the community – 21st April

Exeter City Council has kindly sponsored 20 tickets at the University Alumini to see live streamed Ted x! Each ticket is valued at £20 each which includes lunch! There is the opportunity to win up to two tickets for each Exeter Community Forum member. Please send in the name of your representative(s), (sorry, not councillors) and the name of your organisation to by 1st March. All the names will be put in Dawn’s large hat to be picked out at random.