I want to commend this article (“Collaboration with communities is key to the future of local government”) as a worthwhile, thought provoking read.
It talks of a successful Big Local project and the difference it is making in a local area by fostering greater community ownership of ‘place’ and new levels of collaboration between the community and their local council.
Solihull, too, has a successful Big Local project, in the Cars area of Smith’s Wood, where community involvement and new relationships with public services are making a significant difference locally.
There are other local initiatives that are doing the same, through community fundraising and volunteer endeavour. The project that has seen thousands of bulbs planted to brighten up entrances to Knowle (pictured) and the work that the local community has done to develop the use of Damson Park and build the activities and facilities available, are just two examples.
The conclusion that:
Collaboration goes beyond consultation or representation …… done right, it can turn cynicism into energy, unleash local creativity and more effectively manage pressures on town hall budgets.”
rings true from our local experiences and, with those financial pressures building all the time, there is a need to take these success stories and replicate them.
Being involved in a local place engenders pride and wellbeing for those involved and those who reap the benefit. As the successful Big Local projects and many independent ones have shown, local collaboration can be a shot in the arm for a whole neighbourhood.