January -what’s next….

We are moving from the listening and gathering information stage to the make sense of it all and presenting it stages. Some of the issues are clear – informed by the process to date – others matters will need discussion by the Forum. The Steering Group has tried hard to focus on it’s job of steering – so all the meaty decisions will need to be worked out among forum members themselves!

At the meeting at the end of January we will receive an initial draft of the strategy. This will set out the common themes, priorities and initial thoughts about outcomes which have emerged from the events. Our main discussion will be about the sort of programmes we want to support. We will also begin to consider the approach we want to take to community development and have a look at the options for investment – making the money go further. Some of these issues may carry over into February.

Community meetings: Thank you for helping promote and to those of your who attend the community meetings. These were really helpful to give more insight into the aspirations and issues affecting and of interest to communities across the city. All the workshop output is now on the website for you to have a look at and make comments on http://exetercommunityforum.net/what_you_said/ on the website or on the facebook page or via email to exetercommunityforum@gmail.com Please let your members and community know and ask them to comment too.

We will be attending the Black and Minority Ethnic Forum next week to seek view of community organisations there and the Devon Youth Service will be facilitating a youth focused event at the end of this month.

Altogether we have involved a good range of community leaders, advocates and activists across the city. These processes are never perfect but the quality of contributions and insights gleaned have been really valuable and will inform the first ever strategy – and therefore commitment – the City will have to community development.

The steering group have tried to ensure that other organisations with an interest and work specifically with communities know what we are doing and talk about how what we’re doing fits with their plans. So we have met with Exeter Community Initiatives, Exeter CVS, Devon Community Foundation, Devon Youth Service and made links with the ICE partnership – focused on improving community care and wellbeing. Exeter City Council are also ensuring that Devon County Council are informed too. We are pleased that a team of students from Exeter University have been helping us too. If there are any other organisations that you think are directly relevant who should get involved, please let us know.

We are working too, to ensure that decision makers are kept informed and help shape the work and are pleased that Cllr Pete Edwards, the Leader of Exeter City Council, has continued to take an active interest. Both Christine and I have attended a meeting of the Exeter Board – which brings together Exeter City and Devon County Councillors. We have provided an update at our first attendance and answered questions. The steering group has begun to talk about how the strategy will be adopted by the City Council and as part of that process we will be attending the Exeter City Council Community Scrutiny meeting in March meeting to be, well, scrutinised about the work. This this the first stage in the Council’s adoption of the plan.

Do have a look at the ‘what you said‘ page to see what was discussed at the community meetings and  if you have a comment – get in touch!

Diana Moore

ECF Co-chair