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Community engagement can be really difficult, I think its important to consider very carefully in advance what you are trying to achieve and who will be responding.
A few lessons learned
Use the resources around you, if you want to consult with young people or parents – use the local schools
Try and buddy up consultation with good quality community events – so you know there will be a crowd or a mass of people to consult with…(a bit like Amber says – and she gives some good examples of what community events can be)
Target groups or activities where people gather – really good when targeting certain groups
Lunch clubs – older people for example.
Participatory appraisal is a really useful technique, trying to engage in conversation in groups or one to one – rather than a set questionnaire
This is more time consuming but results in better quality consultation
I have attached a community conversations document we did for OUR PLACE and this is a great document reflecting what the community thinks – high quality.
Also be willing to trial ideas , and be prepared to fail – you will learn a lot through this process.