Over the next couple of months we’ll be looking back at some of the great work done in our Civic Activism Programme. Next up it is: Community Planning.
Community Places is Northern Ireland’s only regional voluntary organization which provides planning advice to disadvantaged individuals and communities to help them influence land use decisions and supports community planning and engagement.
They also secured legislation mandating that local councils prepare a statement of community involvement in planning issues and have developed a free online toolkit that helps communities and the voluntary sector participate more effectively in community planning decisions.
Thanks to their lobbying efforts councils and public bodies must focus community plans on achieving outcomes for improving well-being, tackling poverty and ensuring sustainable development.
The Get Involved campaign has been developed to work with the new community planning, urban regeneration and community development powers given to councils as part of local government reform.
The campaign will work to ensure that communities are better positioned to meaningfully engage with government and will seek to influence all those who play a role in community planning.
The project will work collaboratively with local councils and community development organisations in three new council areas and raise awareness of the new powers given to local councils and the importance of getting involved at a grass roots level.
Get Involved will be working in three council districts: Antrim and Newtownabbey, Mid and East Antrim and Newry, Mourne and Down. In each, the aims will be to raise awareness of the new powers, identify issues, priorities and outcomes, provide opportunities for civil society involvement, build good working relations and networks among all stakeholders, as well as to build skills, capacities and confidence.
They have chosen pop-up democracy, public forums, participatory card games, community visioning and citizen reporting as their tools of choice.
They will hold three pop-up democracy stalls at community events throughout the Antrim and Newtownabbey Council district. They will also hold events to encourage youth engagement with community planning using the participatory card game tool.
In Mid and East Antrim, three public forums will be held to raise awareness of community planning and explore the decision-making process, with citizens then encouraged to record their experiences through the citizen reporting tool.
In Newry, Mourne and Down, three community visioning workshops will be held with the aim of gathering citizens’ ideas for enhancing the area and agreeing upon specific actions toward that end.
Throughout all the events and for the duration of the campaign, participants will be encouraged to report their own experiences using the project hashtag #GetInvolved and share on various social media platforms including Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
All efforts and tools will be aimed at raising awareness of the new local council powers, provide opportunities for community engagement, identify issues and priorities and build capacity on the local level that will encourage participation.
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