We had another lively residents led partnership meeting last night. Unfortunately though our chair, Ron Bennett is ill, get well soon Ron!
However Gary, one of our vice-chair people did a fantastic job of chairing the meeting, he even managed to finish on the dot of eight, which was a sterling job given how much we had to say and talk about. It was a partly reflective meeting, with the board looking at how splitting up in to separate ‘interest’ area groups had worked. Each of these groups are very small with around 3 or 4 members but in their first meetings had been really productive.
Much as our bigger formal meetings work well – it can be that not everyone is as confident at speaking up, and of course the agenda is quite large so we don’t get time to go in to the detailed stuff. And sometimes that is just what we need to do. There are lots of plans afoot for the summer; from supporting young people to attend events, to children’s activities and possibly a Big Summer Fun Day. More on these as plans are confirmed.
It was also interesting to think about how other big local area’s are working – one of our members went to a national Big Local conference ‘The Spring Event’ – link here http://localtrust.org.uk/news/blogs/spring-event-presentations-and-resources and came away thinking about how we could be planning ambitious projects here in North East Hastings. Of course we do have a couple of grand plans, we’re supporting partners with working on- The Ore Village Green and Greenway, and the hopeful redevelopment of Sandown Swimming Pool. We reminded ourselves that we have ten years of work to go so time is on our side for big plans.
I did a presention on a North East Hastings Community Assets Map. The idea behind asset mapping is to look for the good in the community and present it visually. It is a really simple way to think about your area, but provides really useful information. Assets really can be anything from local volunteers, star people, great venue’s, lovely spaces’ and so on. I chose to focus on our community settings as a start and worked up a map which was developed by a colleague Nick Harper with indesign and powerpoint. I’m very happy to share this with people – sadly the file is too big to put up on the blog at the moment, but email us if you’d like to see it. The next steps for this are to work with small groups on ‘their asset maps’.
The idea of asset mapping as a tool for planning comes from work in developing countries, and is a fantastic way for residents and community members to develop a map of ‘their neighbourhood’. It can also be a way to talk about the area, to get the stories about people’s past, and the past of the area. It can also have different ‘layers;, almost like a transparent top. Do check out the University of Brighton’s community21 page via the link here - http://community21.org/, to see how this might be done. We’ll be working with them to do more mapping in the community.
Finally we welcomed Hastings Academy and Sussex Coast College as co-opted members of our group, and are looking forward to working with them on opening up their ‘assets’ – great sports facilities, computer facilities, libraries etc. to local people when possible.
Bev Jenkins, 8 May 2015, Blog post 7