November 18, 2014 at 12:40 pm #8470
Here’s the place to come for a live Q&A with Ash Bearman from Shirehampton Community Action Forum (SCAF). Find out about the area, the project and the difference they’re making to the community.
Anyone is invited to hop on to the forum and ask questions, or simply observe.
See you then!November 18, 2014 at 1:30 pm #8476
Hi everyone – time to kick off today’s Q&A!
Ash, when you’re here if you could just introduce yourself and very quickly tell us what you do, then we can get started!November 18, 2014 at 1:47 pm #8481
Sorry about the delay had a few teething problems!
I am a community development worker for Shire Community Action Forum based in NW Bristol – I set the project up in 2001 and we are a small grass roots community group – sole aim is working to make Shire a better place to live. We work across a whole range of issues – Community Safety, Children & Young People, Planning & dev, Play Areas and lots of environment projectsNovember 18, 2014 at 1:48 pm #8482
Great to have you here, Ash, glad we’re up and ready to go!
My first question is about the area: what’s Shire like? Was there a need in the area that you felt a new community organisation could help with?
November 18, 2014 at 2:03 pm #8483
- This reply was modified 2 years, 6 months ago by Elizabeth.
Shirehampton is on the outskirts of Bristol – about 6 miles from the city centre. It is a community of approx. 6,500 people. In 2000 a Community Profile was completed which looked at all aspects of living and/or working in Shire – it concluded that a lot of different groups were working in Shire – but in isolation & recfommended a new org to bring all these groups together & work to address the identified issues of poverty, low educational achievement, poor health, lack of & loss of local facilities & amenitiesNovember 18, 2014 at 2:05 pm #8484
Do you have any examples of how your project has made a difference in the area? How have you been able to bring the community together?November 18, 2014 at 2:13 pm #8486
We have made a big difference in so many ways – the Community Safety group is chaired by our local Police beat Manager – when we started anti social behaviour was a really big issue, now it is dramatically reduced. Partnership has been the key to successes – we work with everyone local vol/com groups, businesses, Bristol City Council, Police, schools, churches etc. We also have the support of our Local Councillors & MP which gives us the extra “clout” sometimes needed to get things done!
Partnership work also shares & pools resources, we also have great support from local residents who are actively involved in our action groups. Everyone involved has an equal say in planning and work areas and prioritising work – so it directly reflects our communities concerns and works to improve these. We also do a lot of practical projects that have made significant improvement in and around our community.
Our biggest project to date was a complete redesign And development of a local park and play area – this was a £88,000 Lottery funded project that we did in partnership with Bristol City CouncilNovember 18, 2014 at 2:16 pm #8487
That all sounds amazing, such great work.
We’re a little short on time, so I’ve got two final questions for you.
Firstly, what’s been the most rewarding part of improving the community, over the years?
And lastly, what is the one piece of advice you’d give to someone who wanted to start their own community organisation?November 18, 2014 at 2:28 pm #8488
Knowing and seeing everyday here in the community all the practical positive differences that SCAF has made over many years. Having the support and commitment of local residents to continue working together for our community, also seeing how it has brought people together from all sections of our community working together to achieve common goals.
One piece of advice – difficult to just say one – but never assume you know what the real issues and concerns are for the whole community (some issues are very localised)- ask them, gain their support and encourage people to be actively involved. Always be open and transparent and realistic about what can be achieved – you can’t solve all the problems – some you can just work on really hard to try and improve a little. Give everyone the empowerment and opportunity to raise their concerns and plan areas of work & do something about it for themselves!November 18, 2014 at 2:31 pm #8489
That’s wonderful advice, Ash, thank you so much for all of your input.
Keep an eye out for a blog post with highlights from today’s Q&A – and if you run a community project yourself and are interested in becoming a Community Champion like Ash, just head to this page to find out more.
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