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 thebiglisten2017@gmail.com. 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″

How long does it take you to walk to your corner shop?

Exeter Community Forum and Exeter City Council are working with community organisations to put a plan for a team of ‘Community Builders’ to work amongst  Exeter’s communities. Diana Moore, Chair of Exeter Community Forum writes about what the Community Builders will do across the city over the next 5 years

How long does it take you to walk to your corner shop? My daughter complains that ‘it takes a VERY long time, mummy – it’s all the people you talk to!’ Aside from a good chat it feels good to live a community where you can stop and talk to neighbours, find out about what activities are going on locally, discover others who share an interest.

Exeter is a friendly place, but as the city changes and grows – with new housing developments and people moving here and away, that sense of belonging can take a long time to feel, however long you’ve put down roots. What if there was a way of making that easier?

For a number of years Community Builders have worked in Exwick, Wonford and St Thomas and have had a real impact on people’s lives. Community Builders have been listening to residents, helping people design an activity trail in Cowick Barton Playing Fields, enabling young people in Exwick to challenge bullying. In short – making it easier for neighbours to get to know one another.

The community organisations involved in the Exeter Community Forum enable really great community projects to flourish in the city. These are growing because neighbours come together to make a change. Changes with others – to help others in their community. I know many people want to get involved in community life or do something to improve a neglected green space, but don’t know how to or don’t feel confident to do so.

The new Community Builders will have a special role – a bit like bees, acting as community pollinators from which thousands of new relationships will blossom.

Find out more about the Community Builders and  Grass Roots Grants to support Community action and community Buildings on the Exeter Community Forum website: exetercommunityforum.net

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 http://exetercommunityforum.net/green-spaces-meeting-feedback/

Stella can be contacted on exetergreenpartnerships@gmail.com

To find out more about the Exeter Green Partnership visit: https://exetergreenpartnership.org/ or follow via Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ExeterGreen/ or Twitter @_ExeterGreen

Our response to the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan Statement of community involvement

Exeter Community Forum held a meeting of members to learn about the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan https://www.gesp.org.uk/ and talk about the statement of community involvement. Here’s our submission in response:

10th April 2017

Dear Ms Day

Greater Exeter Strategic plan : Statement of community Involvement (GESP SCI)

Thank you for attending  a recent meeting of the Exeter Community Forum. I am pleased to respond on behalf of the Forum to present the issued we talked about for consideration as part of your consultation process.

Good consultation, done to the highest standards, is the proper way for decision-makers to hear the voices of those who will be affected by important proposals. This is of course vital as part of the planning process to enable existing and future communities to shape the communities and areas that will become their homes, work and leisure places.

Exeter Community Forum brings together community organisations to work together and strengthen our communities in Exeter and is a partnership with Exeter City council. Our aims are to:

  1. Give a strong voice for community groups from across the different areas of the City.
  2. Inform the allocation of the neighbourhood portion of the Community Infrastructure Levy accruing from Development in the City and consider other investment needs and opportunities for communities
  3. Give a space for groups to share information and discuss opportunities for collaborative working around the delivery of local services and community assets
  4. Support the creation of a community development strategy for the next five years to strengthen communities, and identify programmes that will best address the development needs of new and existing communities.
  5. To identify common themes and priorities that will help inform decision making about and with communities in the City.
  6. To keep abreast of national policy & initiatives
  7. Communicate with and involve wider communities and key statutory and voluntary/community sector partners in the work of developing a community strategy.

You can see our terms of reference here: http://exetercommunityforum.net/ecf-tor/

Exeter Community Forum’s full members are community associations or other local fora; many of whom have taken an active part in the planning process over recent years. A list of our full and associate members  can be found here: http://exetercommunityforum.net/about/members/

We note the principles of consultation advocated by Stephen Sedley QC in the Gunning case:

  • that consultation must be at a time when proposals are still at a formative stage.
  • that the proposer must give sufficient reasons for any proposal to permit of intelligent consideration and response.
  • that adequate time must be given for consideration and response and, finally,
  • that the product of consultation must be conscientiously taken into account in finalising any statutory proposals.

Please find following a note of what we asked our members at our meeting and their responses. It should be noted that the comments from our discussions are based on the experiences of working with and involving communities in the planning process.

From your experience of involving the community and contributing to planning decisions and documents what does Exeter City Council do well and what could they do better?

  • Individual offices really work hard at community / explaining example Paul Jeffreys. They are ‘straight’ with community as is possible for them to be;
  • Exeter City Council produce good documents but their processes are very top down – they need more early public engagement
  • Are we ticking their box?
  • I come from St James…
  • Some more innovative developments not just same old houses built anywhere in the UK; but providing social housing
  • They had workshops with us but not controlling Teignbridge development adequately (in south west Exeter master plan)
  • Genuine consultation not just ticking a box – time, money and resources put into consultation at the appropriate at level appropriate to community
  • people get very concerned when the development gets the go ahead but asking them to think about abstract Concepts at the early stage is a big ask from Exeter City Council but necessary

Does the draft SCI help people to shape the decisions that affect them?

  • Draft says all the right things but at what point will people be consulted – after proposal to have been formulated?
  • Allow who? It doesn’t specify the weight and meanings that will be attributed to responses or how they will be considered alongside other material considerations or what is the reasoning behind a decision.
  • if it says who? How? and when? they will consult but nothing about what they’ll do with the consultation input. Who will acknowledge it? How will progress/uptake of [an] idea be reported? How will we know who’s listening?
  • From experience even if communities get involved they aren’t giving power to shape decisions!
  • Here! Here!! [in response to comment preceding] consultation results need to be discussed with Communities and explanation of why ignored!

Does the draft SCI help people to know what is going on?

  • Yes – if community forums help disseminate information to a local level – this will help people do not read planning documents!
  • Needs to be simplified and dates added
  • Does not give enough information to inspire people to be involved
  • Community groups and organisations can help spread the word about GESP but need resources to do so
  • Only if you are already interested – not in everyday language and looks (arguably) boring to most people
  • Would help to have an approximate timetable with official consultations periods in.
  • Often its only when people/community hit a barrier, that they react. How do we handle that ‘barrier’ in a way that allows a creative involvement of lots of voices. How do we personalise it?
  • Community groups and organisations can help spread the word about GESP but need resources to do so.
  • Need limitations
  • Limited accessibility for anyone with academic limitations?

Does the draft SCI give them an opportunity to seek redress if the process let’s them down?

  • No! No obvious appeal procedure. No points in consultation!
  • it’s my only be possible to seek redress when plans are set before planning inspectors – what opportunity is there for people or organisations to challenge if their points are ignored?
  • No explanation of how to challenge and where to go to. How do people get their rights? Who do the planners consider have a legitimate expectation and what governs them gunning crystal apply – explain them and refer to them!
    Is there going to be a ‘rush’ of planning applications before the GESP?
  • From experience with ‘Topsham Gap’ campaign, it’s not just the draft SCI that doesn’t give Communities the opportunity to seek redress – ultimate power in planning decisions doesn’t lie with the District and City Councils.
  • No just publishing comments is not redress.

In light of the above and the experience of the Exeter Community Forum in the development of the Exeter community strategy we would make the following observations on the draft SCI:

“Involvement will be open to all regardless of gender, faith, race, disability, sexuality, age, rural isolation and social deprivation”

  1. It is that planning necessitates the use of technical and other jargon – however such words should be explained in lay terms and general documentation should be written in a straightforward way (the later point on jargon is noted).
  2. That to ensure fuller participation by such groups the methods of consultation needs consideration for example a meeting in a town hall in the town centre is not likely to be an effective means to enable participation from a broad section of the community.

“We will undertake consultation when the plan is still at a formative stage”

  1. People need to have confidence that plans may be influenced, so where pre-determined preferences are included these should be identified.

“We will choose consultation processes by balancing cost and time constraints, and our level of discretion on the outcome”

  1. This is an unwelcome top down approach.
  2. Consultations processes should be discussed and agreed in advance with community bodies; and objectives, processes and budgets agreed with them. These should be publically stated.
  3. Community organisations should be funded to facilitate such processes where they are better placed to do so than the local authority.
  4. That as part of this process discussions are held between the Council and strategic community infrastructure organisations in each district to share the GESP objectives and discuss how they might cooperate to enable and improve community  involvement in the planning process, bearing in mind the differing contexts and experiences in each district and lack of formal collaboration across the GESP area by community organisations on planning matters.

“Consultation publications will be clear and concise and avoid unnecessary jargon, without understating the complexities of any decision.”

  1. We agree. The decision making process should be set out explain who and how the decision will be made including any significant criteria which may not be subject to consultation.

“They will give sufficient reasons and information to allow an informed response. Enough time (usually 6 weeks) will be given for responses.”

  1. An indicative timetable overall for the process and key decision points should be set out.
  2. Within the stages a minimum of 6 weeks should set, especially considering the scope and spread of the communities in the GESP area a longer timetable might be needed.
  3. Prior to any formal consultation period informal work is undertaken with community organisations to consider how best involve  communities in the consultation process if not already done so.

“Responses will be considered conscientiously”

  1. It is not clear by whom or how ‘conscientious consideration’ will happen,
  2. What will happen or what process for redress is there if there is significant disagreement or if the respondent feels they have not been treated conscientiously?
  3. How will responses be made? To the individual respondent (as the NHS does) or collated and shared publically, or both?

 

“We will inform people who respond to consultations of later stages”

  1. This is welcome;
  2. Are new contributors welcome and how will they be able to find out what has happened to date?

 “Who we will consult”

  1. The ‘weighting’ of any contributions are not set out. For example:
    • if a community organisation facilitates a community response to the process – is this more or less significant than that of a individual, or a third party with no local knowledge?
    • How are the views of existing communities that adjoin future communities to be considered. Especially where there may be more than one existing community – i.e. two or more distinct communities eihter side of a new proposed development?;
    • How the views of communities either side of a district boundary will be treated – as they may have very differing views on a new neighbouring development.
  2. That the value and importance and role of community plans and neighbourhood plans as part of this process is clarified by Exeter City Council in light of the experience in St James.

“How we will consult”

“We will contact appropriate organisations and individuals directly” & “We will consider organising or supporting consultation events such as public exhibitions”

  1. This is welcome, however what does ‘appropriate’ mean and who decides?
  2. The process of consultation should be set out in advance and discussed with others – see points,5,6 & 7 above.
  3. There are a range of creative and participative events that can be run other than exhibitions – which are very passive. Established means include planning for real, charrettes etc etc.

“Consultation documents will be made available for download on the Council’s websites and on the GESP website (www.gesp.org.uk) and will be available for purchase at a price reflecting publication costs”

  1. We assume that there will be no charge for community organisations and no charge to download documents.
  2. Documents should be available in accessible formats as required and no charge should be made where documents are required in accessible formats.

“We will publish comments received or a summary as soon as feasible.”

  1. As part of each consultation stage what will happen to comments should be set out at the beginning

“We will explain how these comments have been taken into account when decisions are taken “

  1. The decision making process should be set out explaining who and how the decision will be made including any significant criteria which may not be subject to consultation.

“After considering the initial consultation responses we will consult on the Draft Greater Exeter Strategic Plan”

  1. This will need a detailed consultation phase, certainly longer than 6 weeks – maybe in stages, since I imagine that a wide range of views will be received, before the final plan can be developed.
  2. It is not clear who ‘We’ is: is this each district Council, Devon County Council or another body that is overseeing the process?

In addition to the above one of members has bought the work of NHS consultation to our attention. Supported by Health Watch Devon the following statement of community involvement has been developed which sets out simply but in a fuller and more specific way an approach to consultation. Although focusing on Health services this could be a helpful guide for improving the GESP SCI https://healthwatchdevon.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/What-to-expect-from-an-NHS-Public-Consultation-V2-DIGITAL.pdf.

Exeter Community Forum would be willing to provide further comment on any revision made to the SCI.

Yours sincerely

Diana Moore

Chair

Exeter Community Forum

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 http://www.sylvaniahall.co.uk/contact.html

“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 admin@voycdevon.org.uk 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! Dawn.rivers@exeter.gov.uk

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.

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A draft youth strategy – what difference can your organisation make?

You are cordially invited to the launch of a report produced for Exeter Board and supported by Exeter City Council, Devon County Council, Exeter Community Forum and a range of other partners, to be held at Exeter Guildhall on Wednesday 22nd March, 6pm-9pm.

The report draws on research into the needs and aspirations of young people aged 10-25 in the Exeter area, and indicates some clear priorities for a youth strategy for Exeter. The overall aim is to make Exeter renowned as a young people-friendly city.

The event will provide opportunities for you to make a contribution to determining priority actions and to join a network of young people and organisations determined to make Exeter a great place to live and work for its young residents.

The final version of the report will be available on the 22nd of March. We don’t as yet have the designed version, however you can read the final draft of the report.

To register and book your place please e-mail admin@voycdevon.org.uk giving your name, the organisation you represent, your contact e-mail and phone number. Further details will then be sent to you a week before the event. Please note that spaces at the event are limited, so please book early.

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 http://exetercommunityforum.net/community-builders/ 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! exetercommunityforum@gmail.com

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 http://www.sylvaniahall.co.uk/contact.html

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: http://exetercommunityforum.net/communities-planning/

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. exetercommunityforum@gmail.com

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: http://exetercommunityforum.net/grass-roots-grants/  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: http://exetercommunityforum.net/celebrating-exeters-green-spaces/
Please  RSVP to Stella exetergreenpartnership@gmail.com  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 Dawn.rivers@exeter.gov.uk by 1st March. All the names will be put in Dawn’s large hat to be picked out at random.

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. We hope this will be an opportunity to talk to each other about your successes and the challenges you’ve met, a chance to share knowledge and find out about the activities going on in other areas of the city.

As well as talking to each other at this event, we’d like to talk about whether a permanent network would be useful and what shape that might take. There will be a suggestion box, so please bring your ideas!

Refreshments will be provided, please  RSVP to Stella exetergreenpartnership@gmail.com  by Friday 10th February so we can confirm numbers.

Grass Roots Grants Go Ahead!

Exeter Community Forum  members celebrated the launch of a new programme of funding  to support community action across the city at their October meeting.

The Grass Roots Grants Fund is being launched by Exeter Community Forum and Exeter City Council and is expected to invest £3.7m over 10 years.

The fund has been set up from the levy developers pay towards infrastructure when houses are built. The money will enable communities to invest in projects and community assets, such as community halls, that make a real difference to a local area.

The launch of the Fund comes after two years of hard work by Exeter’s community organisations to put together a plan for strengthening communities to face the changes, challenges and opportunities of the Exeter’s growth over the next decade.

Diana Moore, Chair of the Exeter Community Forum, said,

“These funds are a great start to putting our plan into action. They will be put to very good use by community organisations wanting to involve more people, provide valued services, renew community buildings and really consider how they can best work with other organisations to support and help local people.”

But its isn’t just money alone that will make the difference, Councillor Paul Bull, portfolio holder for Communities and Neighbourhoods, said,

“It’s a really good time to get involved in your local community organisation. This money will have so much more impact because the application process will recognise the dedication  who help people feel safe and belong, provide help and practical support, get active and create pride in their neighbourhoods.”

The Grass Roots Grants programme round one will be open until the end of December 2016. The first round will consider applications for an overall grant pot of £50,000.

There will be three grants rounds a year and information about the funds and how to apply can be found at www.exetercommunityforum.net.

 

ECF members at launch of Grass Roots Grants Fund

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Community Events

Two great sets of  community events coming up – all welcome!

ARTSfest St David’s, 8th – 15th October:  Celebrating local creativity 

ARTSfest encourages local residents of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to share and develop their creative talents, helping to foster a stronger sense of community in the St David’s village.  Events throughout the week are free or low-cost, and are open to all Exeter residents and visitors to enjoy. Programme artsfestdavids-revised-1

You are invited to Sidwella’s Heritage Dinner

Wednesday 19th October 7pm-10pm

Join us for this unique fundraising dinner and heritage evening at St Sidwell’s Community Centre. Enjoy a delicious 3 course dinner and a heritage talk by Levi Roach, Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Exeter: “From Æthelstan to Æthelred: Exeter and the South West in the later Anglo-Saxon Age”
Tickets are £22 a head (BYO bottle) and can be booked by phoning St Sidwells Community Centre on 01392 666222 or by emailing: bookings@stsidwells.org.uk

Communities taking on ownership of council buildings?

Exeter City Council has transferred a number of its assets to other bodies in recent years and more are in the pipeline. The recent proposals to transfer the Valley Parks to Devon Wildlife Trust presented an opportunity to start the conversation about greater clarity for community groups on how that can happen.

So the question we asked and the Council’s reply is here:

“PUBLIC QUESTIONS RECEIVED for Place Scrutiny Committee – 8 September 2016

 Question for Place Scrutiny Committee

Diana Moore Chair, Exeter Community Forum

Experience from councils across the UK, supported by work and evidence from the Treasury, LGA and community sector, has shown the role of transfer of ownership of land or buildings from a statutory body to a  community organisation at ‘less than best consideration’  can achieve a public benefit for social , environmental and economic benefit. One of the key lessons learned from this work is that a ”strategic approach within the local authority provides for transparency, ensures consistency, and enhances the authority’s asset management Capability”. Section 7 of the report to this committee suggests that Exeter City Council’s approach to asset transfer would be enhanced by such a clear approach to policy on asset transfer. The Council signed up to the principles of community development in the Community Development Strategy in April this year, this strategy also highlights that ‘it would be useful to increase clarity’ on this matter of asset transfer.

Would the Committee recommend to the Executive to work as a matter of priority to progress the action point in that agreed strategy to “work with community and voluntary organisations to agree and implement a single policy and process for transferring land, buildings and other assets to community ownership or management or both and access to appropriate support and training to officers and organisations going through the process”?

Response by Councillor Paul Bull, Portfolio Holder Communities and Neighbourhoods

Councillor Paul Bull, as Portfolio Holder for Communities and Neighbourhoods, responded to the question.  He referred to a widely attended public engagement event at the Corn Exchange in February 2014, asking community groups and other stakeholder to help us review how we looked at using our Parks and Open Spaces. As a result, Devon Wildlife Trust came forward with an *in principle* expression of interest on taking on the Valley Parks, and this approach was considered in a report that went through the Committee cycle, including Executive in 2014, where the principle of asset transfer to community organisations was endorsed.

The Council recognised that successful, sustainable asset transfer was dependent upon timing and opportunity, with the pace driven by the community, not the Council.  At that time it was anticipated that the transfers referred to in the report, including that to Devon Wildlife Trust, could take place relatively swiftly, without the need to develop policies and procedures.  However, since then the Community Development Strategy has been developed which highlighted the need for clarity on asset transfer.  

 Councillor Bull stated that he would be very pleased to recommend to Executive that a policy on transferring land, buildings and other assets to community ownership or management be developed.  The timing of this piece of work would need to be considered amongst other priorities for the council but he would meet will meet with the relevant Officers to discuss a realistic timescale to develop it.

Ms Moore thanked Councillor Bull for the reply and referred to their work as part of the Exeter Community Forum Steering Group.”

The agenda for the meeting can be found here: http://committees.exeter.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx… it is item 7.

Find out more about asset transfer here :http://mycommunity.org.uk/res…/community-asset-transfer-kit/

YOUNG PEOPLE IN EXETER – HAVE YOUR SAY

Devon County Council, Exeter City Council and Exeter Community millenniumbridgeForum and others are working together on a strategy to make sure that Exeter has the best possible opportunities for young people who grow up in the city.

We want to make sure that young people aged 11-19 have an active voice in deciding what the priorities should be, and this on-line survey is a chance for young people to tell us what they like and dislike about living in the city and what they want to see improved.

Of course the more young people who take part, the more useful it will be!

We need your help in reaching young people and encouraging them to take part in the survey, and would be very grateful if you could pass on this link to your networks. We want to reach schools, colleges and organisations that work with young people right across the city. The deadline for young people to complete the survey is FRIDAY 15TH JULY. The survey is anonymous and young people cannot be identified through their responses.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/exeteryouthstrategy

We will also be running some workshops for young people between July and September, but this survey is our tool for reaching the greatest number of young people in Exeter, so your help in distributing the survey is really important. If you would like to know more about the Exeter Youth Strategy process please get in touch with our co-ordinator, Gill Millar (gillmillar2000@outlook.com). We will be consulting with organisations who work with young people through a different questionnaire so there will be further opportunities for you to get involved.

 

 

 

May 2016 news & events

Annual General Meeting: A reminder that out first AGM is on Saturday 18th June. Exeter Community Centre, St David’s Hill is hosting us. The AGM will be 10:00 -11:00 am. As well as a review of the year we’ll look forward to what we’ll be up next year and there is a chance for your Organisation to get involved on the steering group or on the grants panel.

You can see the agenda here. You will also find more about the steering group, the grants panel terms of reference and a nomination form for the steering group and grants panel on that page.

PLEASE CONFIRM IF YOUR ORGANISATION WILL ATTEND THE AGM AND THE NAME OF THE PERSON WHO WILL BE YOUR FORMAL REPRESENTATIVE

IDEAS INTO ACTION
The AGM will be followed by an open event ‘Ideas into Action!’ As we move from strategising (is that a proper word?!) to making things happen we’ll be focusing on how we’d like more community organising and more community planning to happen across the city. The priorities and ideas you have will inform future grants programmes for community organising and the commissioning of a third sector organisation to manage and develop a new role in the city to support community planning.
You can find more information and book here. Please do promote this event widely to your members and any local Councillor(s) that you may work with.

ICE – Integrated Care Exeter. This partnership project is bringing statutory and voluntary sector agencies together to work out how health and social care support can be improved across the city. Communities and community organisations are seen as really important to this. Exeter community Forum are supporting a an event (click on link to see draft agenda):
Working together – supporting people and communities to take the lead in their own and their community’s well-being to look at how this happens on Friday 1st July 2016  9.00 to 16.00 Coaver Club Conference Centre , County Hall, Matford Lane, Exeter, EX2 4PS. Exeter Community Forum has 4 places.
Please let Dawn Rivers dawn.rivers@exeter.gov.uk know if you’d like to attend on behalf of Exeter Community Forum.

YOUTH STRATEGY For Exeter: Exeter Community Forum has been invited to help  in the development of a new Youth Strategy alongside Devon Youth Service, VOYC Devon, Exeter City Council and Devon County Council. The first activity will be a survey of young people and organisations are invited to host conversations with young people about their hopes and the challenges they face.   Please let your member organisations know about the strategy development over the next 6 months. If anyone would especially like to be kept informed or get involved please email exetercommunityforum@gmail.com. Exeter Community Forum has a place on the steering group – and Diana Moore  attended the first meeting.  If someone from your organisation would like to share or take on that role please email Diana exetercommunityforum@gmail.com or ring 01392410624

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

Our Communities: Our Future

 

what does community mean to youA day bringing together community volunteers, activists and those working with community organisations across Exeter.

Join us to:

  • Find out what’s going on in communities across the City: neighbourhood planning, community organising, volunteering, community buildings and more….
  • Learn from other community activists and share our experiences and expertise.
  • Consider how communities can meet the challenges and create opportunities as Exeter grows over the next ten years.
  • Shape the plans for Exeter’s Community Strategy and the money we need to achieve this.

Who should come:  people who live or work in Exeter who are community volunteers, committee members, community activists, those working with community organisations across Exeter – for example community organisers, community development workers, community leaders and local Councillors. Members of the public who  have an interest in or want to get involved in their community are most welcome too!

Where: Exeter Community Centre Trust.17 St. Davids Hill, Exeter, Devon EX4 3RG

When: Saturday 17th October 10:00am -2:30pm

Practicalities: Please bring a packed lunch or you can buy lunch from the Mulberry Tree cafe on site. Please note there is no local parking please use public transport or park in the nearby car parks. If you are a blue badge user and need a parking space at the community centre please ring 01392 420549 to book in advance.

Booking: The event is free  but please book your place here as spaces are limited!

 

Launch of Exeter Community Forum

Exeter Community Forum launch Pic: Mark Passmore /APEX 02/07/2015 Pictured: The Exeter Community Forum group shot. ---------------------------------------------------- APEX NEWS & PICTURES NEWS DESK: 01392 823144 PICTURE DESK: 01392 823145
Exeter Community Forum launch July 2015 Pic: Mark Passmore /APEX 02/07/2015

You may expect any group potentially in receipt of funds would be keen to get on and spend, but communities in Exeter are planning for the long term. As Exeter grows over the next ten years fifteen percent the moneys raised from the ‘Community Infrastructure Levy’ are being set aside to benefit communities, especially in areas where development is taking place. Cllr Paul Bull, Members Champion for Community Engagement said: “Communities will change significantly as Exeter grows, and we recognize that local communities are best placed to identify what their community needs. Exeter City Council is right behind their efforts to shape their future and decide how the funds can benefit them.”

Community Associations and Fora from across the City have come together with the support of Exeter City Council to establish the Exeter Community Forum. The Forum has decided to work on a ‘Community Strategy’ – a plan to support community development across the City. Christine Fraser from St David’s Neighbourhood Partnership and one of Exeter Community Forum’s Co-Chairs said, “The first task of this community-led initiative, working in tandem with the City Council, is the appointment of a facilitator to help us draft a community development plan. This isn’t as dry as it sounds! It’s a significant piece of work which identify the needs and priorities in our neighbourhoods.”

Diana Moore, of the Alphington Village Forum and the other Co-Chair of the new Forum, said: “We’re pleased the Council recognises the increasing and important role that communities have in shaping planning decisions, delivering local services, supporting their neighbours, working with young people, organizing events, running community buildings and facilities such as parks and allotments. Community effort makes a real difference to the City and we’re planning to make the most of this £3.7million investment in community development over the next ten years!