Community Regen has also adapted to the current times and we continue to support and work to strengthen both communities and organisations in their projects and with their changing priorities. Below are some examples of projects we have been working on through during this time.
We have been supporting the Noel Park Big Local Partnership in Haringey, North London in developing their response to support their community around Coronavirus. In order to clarify specific support around COVID- 19 that may be needed, we have worked with them to map existing support for residents in the area. We have talked to local organisations to understand what links can be made with the Big Local to ensure support around COVID-19 can be most effectively delivered. We made some recommendations to the Partnership about projects that support what is happening and are currently working with the Partnership to implement what they decided to do. One of the things we have supported the partnership on is producing a Coronavirus newsletter (right). Since May, there have now been two newsletters and we have supported the partnership on things such as running a plant distribution project, working with schools to support digital inclusion, holding a virtual Big Lunch and running a Community Chest.
Paul has been working with 3 Big Local areas over this time enabling them to respond to and support their communities at this time through a range of projects and programmes. Paul has regularly been checking in with fellow reps, workers and partnership members from across the country to share learning around how to best respond to COVID-19 (Zoom partnership meeting left). Paul is the rep for Elthorne in North London, Farley in Luton and Wormley and Turnford in Hertfordshire and has supported all them during this time. Many Big Locals are directly supporting their communities with food deliveries. Others have adapted pre-planned events on Zoom to encourage neighbours to engage virtually.
One of our projects that has continued despite COVID-19 is our work supporting the GLA Sport Unites Steering Group. There has been great enthusiasm from organisations across London to continue with the workshops as planned. We have facilitated six workshops using Zoom and they were successful. This included doing some whole group work and then smaller group work in ‘breakout rooms’ (right). The work of identifying and developing potential project ideas is progressing, and the young facilitators have excelled throughout the sessions. We are now writing a report on the work to look at the key themes and recommendations across the workshops.
We have also adapted the project delivery of the Sompting Community Hub feasibility study in West Sussex. Following the completion of the online community research with residents and stakeholders, we facilitated a virtual workshop in late April. This was conducted on Zoom and had 15 attendees. The workshop worked well with a virtual visioning exercise to formulate purpose and vision for the proposed Hub (montage pictured on the left). This adaption has allowed the project to stay on track and following the workshop, we are drafted and finalised the feasibility study.
The way we have delivered community engagement support on the CB1 Estate in Cambridge has changed but it has not diminished. Sam continues to work on the project 3 days a week. He has been working with resident groups and local councillors to ensure support is provided to those in need. A flyer has been put together and will be delivered to all residents to inform them of support they can access if needed. We have also pulled together information on the CB1 Community website about different local groups and online resources that may help residents and employees during this time. We have also been running some virtual community activities online including a free virtual workout (right) and a virtual coffee morning. These are designed to try and bring people together and create a sense of community, even when we cannot physically socialise.
Hertsmere Borough Council – Cowley Hill Ward
We have been working in Cowley Hill Ward in Borehamwood, Hertsmere to engage with the community. The work is about developing shared priorities for organisations and residents to come together around to make the ward a better place to live. We have used Zoom and phone calls to interview stakeholders, we ran an online survey with residents and we facilitated an online workshop in July. This was conducted on Zoom and had around 40 attendees. The half-day workshop worked well with digital postcards helping to formulate a vision for the ward over the next year (montage of postcards pictured on the left). We also used breakout rooms to allow for group discussion on what key priorities should be and how they can be achieved. Out of the workshop, a group will be formed with key stakeholders to look at progressing the priorities agreed. We are now in the process of writing the final report.
We work with three other organisations as part of the Engagement Group. Our mission is to rethink how engagement happens in the built environment and deliver clear engagement that involves the community throughout the development process. In the early part of 2020, we all spoke with organisations and stakeholders we work with to hear about their experiences of engagement in the built environment. As a result, we developed our offer to try and fill the gaps. In May 2020, we presented this in a virtual workshop on Zoom. The workshop was well attended and some useful discussion was had about challenges with engagement at the moment and how a new approach could address these.