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Your Community, Your Say, Your Solutions

There was a good turnout when local people gathered for "Your Community, Your Say, Your Solutions" on the 21st of May at The Sydney Russell School, in Dagenham, East London.

Over 25 people took part.

Great conversations were had and participants came up with 10 different projects, all listed in detail further below!"

Our Assets - What do we have? 1st conversation round


We answered this question in small groups of 4 people around a table and identified about 40 local assets!

Here is an example of a local asset (click photo to enlarge it):

You can find photos of all the assets here on Flickr!

Here is a spreadsheet with all the assets (Click here to download):

What do *I* care about? 2nd conversation round

Here is an example of the things that people who attended care about (click photo to enlarge it):

The photos of the writeups for all the Round 2 conversations can be found here on Flickr!

Here is a spreadsheet with all the Round 2 writeups (Click here to download):

What would it take for *me* to act on what I care about most? 3rd conversation round

Here is an example of what would motivate people who attended to take action (click photo to enlarge it):

The photos of the writeups for all the Round 3 conversations can be found here on Flickr!

Here is a spreadsheet with all the Round 3 writeups (Click here to download):

All in all, it was quite a busy morning. Thankfully, Bill Clarke the Community Development Manager made sure that there was plenty of tea on hand to keep people's strength up and there was a delicious lunch provided by a local pillar of the community that we got to eat in the glorious sunshine that we had on that Saturday.

Getting Things Done Together Open Space

Having gotten clarity on local assets, issues and motivations, attendees were invited to propose specific conversations around issues they care about and projects they would like to see happen. Here you can see some of the proposed sessions (click photo to enlarge it):

During the sessions, people wrote notes on flipchart paper, you can see a session note example below (click photo to enlarge it):


Photos of all the session notes can be found here!

The aim of all this discussion was to come up with specific project ideas and action plans to make them happen. You can see an action plan example below (click photo to enlarge it):


Photos of all the action plans can be found here!

Here is a spreadsheet with all the action plans (Click here to download):

Voting on Project Ideas Dotmocracy

Each project idea was summarized on a "Dotmocracy" sheet, that people could then use to vote on the idea and give their comments. You can see an example Dotmocracy sheet below (click photo to enlarge it):


Photos of all the Dotmocracy sheets can be found here!

Here is a spreadsheet with all the Dotmocracy sheets including votes and comments (Click here to download):

In the end, there were 10 project ideas to be further explored and developed. A couple of the most interesting ideas were:

  1. An annual Festival of Culture in Parsloes Park to bring together the diverse communities and groups in the area.
  2. An independently-run Anti-social Behaviour hotline operated on the community's behalf to bring accountability to how such issues are actually tackled in practice.

Closing comments from participants

  • "Bringing things together!"
  • "Kind of fulfilling from a dual perspective."
  • "Sense of community - Feeling that I didn't know existed!"
  • "Good work today - rewarding!"
  • "Potential & people ready to take on vital work."
  • "(A) few good contacts, first ripple in the pond."
  • "Hope that things will be done."
  • "Taking away new contacts."
  • "Looking forward to working with people, working on ideas & succeeding on projects."
  • "Nice event. Hope for the future."

Our Take on Your Community, Your Say, Your Solutions

At the Your Community, Your Say, Your Solutions event on the 21st of May in the neighbourhood north of Parsloes Park in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, project ideas were written up onto Dotmocracy sheets and voted on by participants. In Dotmocracy, a key principle is one idea per sheet. There were two ideas with united agreement, with one of them having united strong agreement. There was united strong agreement on the Festival of Culture idea and united agreement on the Teen Club idea indicating broad levels of support for those ideas.

There were quite a few ideas that had various levels of agreement and acceptance. Indicating that the ideas need to be further developed or that they have a specialist appeal. Ideas that fall into this grouping are:

  • Weekend Social Club for special needs adults;
  • Youth & Community Cafe;
  • Anti-social behaviour hotline;
  • Information Sharing Project;
  • Day Care Centre for special needs adults.

Finally, there are the ideas with weak agreement and acceptance, which probably need to broaden their appeal and be clearer about their utility:

  • Promoting Fanshawe Hall;
  • Knitting & Crochetting Club;

On examining the ideas, 19 underlying themes were identified. These themes have a direct or indirect relationship to the ideas. For example, an idea may be about a Youth activity, but the nature of the activity is such that it requires a suitable venue, so in that case both Youth and Venues are the relevant themes. The themes (most frequent first) are as follows:

  1. Venues
  2. Local Information & Networks
  3. Safety
  4. Social Care
  5. Community & Neighbours
  6. Special Needs
  7. Support
  8. Arts & Crafts
  9. Youth
  10. Elderly
  11. Skills & Training
  12. Intergenerational
  13. Children
  14. Employment & Jobs
  15. Health & Wellbeing
  16. Enterprise
  17. Food
  18. Public Services
  19. Crime & Antisocial Behaviour

To enable the potential for effective community action, key pieces of infrastructure need to be available. This is reflected in the top two themes. In order to meet, take part in activities and receive/provide services, there needs to be physical places where people can gather & make things happen. These needn't be dedicated "community centres" in the now established sense, hence Venues rather than Community Centres as the theme name. Venues was the most heavily represented theme reflecting the fact that a lot of the ideas will need a venue to be hosted at. One question that people often have is "how do we find out what's going on?" There may be meetings, activities and services locally that are relevant to them, buf if they don't know about them, they can't take part in what's happening or make use of available services. Furthermore, the community groups and local organisations organizing meetings, activities and providing services, need to better coordinate, collaborate and pool resources in the post-Cuts environment as well as promote themselves to the community at large. This all gives rise to the Local Information & Networks theme for the various ways of connecting people with information and other people.

The themes Safety and Social Care arises from the need for places where adults with special needs, children & young people can go and take part in activities happily and safely. Speaking of Special Needs, there is a clear desire to provide for people who have them, especially adults with learning difficulties. Likewise, there is also an express interest in providing for Children & Youth, especially via a Teen Club. There is a lot less clarity about what else could be done for Youth, but a clear desire.

The Community & Neighbours theme is about bringing people together. There is a clear and present need to increase the levels of bridging social capital in this locality. There is also an underlying theme about groups and organisations needing Support from each other. Another manifestation of the need for more bridging social capital. Various ideas related to clubs & cafes are clearly relevant here as well as the Festival of Culture event.

Arts and Crafts are one way of bringing people together and also can have therapeutic benefits in its own right. This is reflected by ideas like the Festival of Culture and the Knitting & Crochetting Club.

A lot of the project ideas don't need that much money relatively speaking, just sufficient coordination and facilitation to get and keep them going. There is also a lot of potential for the various ideas to support each other as they become projects, again that relies on the coordination & facilitation. So a focus on Local Information & Networks would be strategic.