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The role of community councils and Neighbourhood Partnerships

The role of community councils and Neighbourhood Partnerships


Hi everyone, it’s brilliant to see everyone
here this morning so thanks a lot for coming along. I am going to try and be really quick
because I know we’re quite tight for time this morning and everyone will have questions
they want to ask the panel so I’ll fire through it. Before we start a lot of you there, I
just want to make you aware of our Twitter account if you want to follow is on @Edin_nps.
That’s where you can speak to us, we’re open to any feedback [LAUGHS] at this Twitter account,
and we also have the
Neighbourhood Partnership website that … there will be information about it in your pack
but just to tell you it’s www.edinburghnp.org.uk so feel free to visit us there.
It will be undergoing a revamp soon and we’re looking for comments about that as well so
we are really open for business and want to work together around social media and the
web at the moment so…there you go. I hope you all know about Neighbourhood Partnerships,
you may have been to inductions or welcome sessions or you may have met some of the key
people around Neighbourhood Partnerships, but if you haven’t now’s the time to do that.
There is quite a lot of people here today, grab us or ask a question at the question
and answer session and we will tell you a little bit more about it.
We have twelve Neighbourhood Partnerships across the city and Community Councils are
key to the Board of Neighbourhood Partnerships. You will also be joined on the board by people
from the Police, Fire, Councillors, our Neighbourhood Partnerships are… our convenors are our
Councillors and also local residents and local organisations as well. So find out a bit more
about Neighbourhood Partnerships if you don’t know already.
Each Neighbourhood Partnership works to implement a Local Community Plan and really that’s a
little bit about what I want to highlight to people today. The Local Community Plan
sets out priorities for the area, we are at the moment just going to consultation and
having conversations about new Local Community Plans for each of your areas. So please, please
get involved because Community Councils are key to representing views of the whole communities
and the Community Plan sets out all the priorities that we are going to focus on for the next
2014 to 2017 for Local Community Plans, so now’s the time for action around that and
it’s great to see everyone here today and I hope you all get involved in that process
because it’s really key and you are central to the development of those plans. Neighbourhood
Partnerships also have sub-groups and action groups; they have various different names
and focus on lots of different areas depending on the Neighbourhood Partnership you are involved
with. The sub-groups and action groups take forward the community plans to improve local
community outcomes and that’s really where the kind of, the work in the background of
the Neighbourhood Partnership develops. There’s so many examples of that I’m just going to
give you few today and I just want to say that I’ve got so much information about what
people do in Neighbourhood Partnerships and what Community Councils have contributed to,
so sorry if I’ve missed anyone out, feel free to shout at me at the question and answer
bit but I’ve tried to cover something that I can from each area.
As I said the Community Councils do bring a wealth of local knowledge and expertise
which can help our Neighbourhood Partnerships function effectively. As Community Councils
represent on the board and the sub-groups they help to deliver just a wide range of
things previously… I’m sure you probably know about some of these developments but
I just wanted to highlight some of them today. The Dementia Awareness Pilot which is quite
new in the Almond Neighbourhood Partnership with the Cramond and Barnton Community Council,
that’s part of the overall Dementia Friendly City Strategy. It’s working with the local
community to create awareness and to have a sympathetic approach to dementia sufferers
and carers in the local area. I know that Almond Neighbourhood Partnership aren’t the
only Neighbourhood Partnership doing that work so there may also be more localised examples
of that so please get involved in that. That’s relatively new work on the city strategy and
I know Councillor Child’s involved in Portobello in that as well. Walkabouts — we have walkabouts
in most of our Neighbourhood Partnership areas…it’s a way people can become involved in improving
their local communities and the local area. There is some good work created in Craigentinny/
Duddingston with Living Streets which is a UK Organisation which is for pedestrians to
look at the local area to see if the Council could work together with Community Councils
and local residents to improve those areas for people walking around. We have done 5
now in Craigentinny and Duddingston and 1 in Portobello and Craigmillar and there’s
been lots of improvements around that so if you want to find out more about how you can
work with Living Streets or how you can get involved in the local walkabouts, it’s really…
it’s some way we can all work together to improve the areas.
We also do Area Board Bus Tours in Portobello and Craigmillar where we go around in the
bus once a year and we look at areas we can improve. We use NIP money and NEP money which
is Neighbourhood Improvement so you can be involved in that in your local area as well
so find out a little bit more about that. We also have the Community Grant Scheme; Community
Councils can apply for their organisations or can apply for themselves as well to the
Community Grants Scheme to use money for local projects. There’s so many examples out there
of how Community Grants are being used to develop the local areas. One such one is a
motorbike safety campaign that Craigmillar Community Council developed and also a child
Safety Campaign running after that. It was a great local project so if you want to find
out more about that I’m happy to tell you about it. Leith Decides is a brilliant example
of Participatory Budgeting, it’s something that people talk about a lot and you may have
heard a bit about it. It’s about how people could be more involved in budgetary decision
making. As you’ve just heard we are very keen on Councils to involve people in our decision
making process. So Participatory Budgeting or PB as you might hear it called for the
past four years in Leith they’ve run the project called Leith Decides where Community Councils
form the main part of a steering council with community, erm, with City members, council
workers and elected members to introduce Participatory Budgeting so that community grants are allocated
to local groups. It’s an amazing pilot project and have a read about it, go out there and
find out a bit more about it and I’m sure there’s much interest to do it in more areas
as well. Community Engagement — you might have heard a lot about this. The Community
Councils are really key to that. They have a key role in representing the community views
on Neighbourhood Partnerships and there’s so many examples of how Community Councils
can use community engagement to bring forward people’s views.
I’ll put a few of them up there and again I’ll just say a little sorry if I’ve missed
anyone out which there are probably lots and lots more examples. When I went to get this
information so early on there were so many examples of how Community Council’s were really
key to representing both the communities’ views… there’s one up there for Trinity
which surveyed residents to identify community concerns. Grange Prestonfield worked in partnership
to engage around priority parking. There’s many examples about the parking out there
that Community Councils have been involved in their own neighbourhoods. Muirhouse Salveson
visited other regeneration sites in London to take back ideas. That was a really interesting
project around planning and development in areas of regeneration. Cramond and Barnton
also had positive engagement between a developer and the Community Council as well, so it just
shows there’s a wide range of examples really. Morningside, Craiglockhart and Merchiston
had 8000 surveys handed out. Now I know that was a very time consuming process and it was
really just all credit to the Community Council who did a lot of leg work and a lot of forcing
through people’s doors on that project as well. So that was around households in relation
to the Craiglockhart development. Leith Neighbourhood Partnership and three local Community Councils
used a stall at a local gala to identify priorities and also South West Community Council and
Community Safety sub-group used Survey Monkey, a micro website, post boxes and libraries
to gain feedback on community safety issues. There’s a little link there and you can get
a copy of the pack at the back. So have a read about that, it just shows how you can
use some different techniques to gain some information from your local communities. We’ve
talked a little bit about how you can use libraries as community hubs, as Library Development
Officer we are out there, I can speak for all libraries all 27 across the city to say
please make representation to them, speak to your local people who work in libraries,
there is space there that you can use, we can work together to develop a little area
if you want to use it, you can use our meeting rooms and you can photocopy as well so that’s
a really key relationship you can develop in your local community if you haven’t done
so already. Support Programmes for Community Councils, this is really the start of a new
one today, we are more than interested to hear how we can further support you in developing
the work that you do, the really important work that you do. I am going to do a sort
of Challenges slide at the end, sorry, but that’s really how we are moving forward today
and we’ve got some workshops after this where we are going to just talk about some of the
issues about the difficulties around engaging a local community to how hard it can sometimes
be to represent views when they are split between two groups. From our Annual Neighbourhood
Survey, three of the findings were how do Community Councils and Neighbourhood Partnerships
raise their profiles so that people know how to access them and influence services in their
local area. That’s something that we wrestle with in Neighbourhood Partnerships and I’m
sure yourself in the Community Councils may do as well. How do Community Councils reflect
the views of the wider community? That’s definitely key for our workshops that we are going into
and I’m happy to key in any ideas and I would say use the opportunity this morning to meet
people from other Community Councils as well because there is a lot of expertise out there
and if you can get any kind of critical friends in other more established Community Councils
it’s worth a wee email to people when you’re having a bit of difficulty with some engagement
or something in your own local communities, so use your Community Council friends out
there. So speak to people and also how can partners
improve the way they work together? We’re more than open to hear how we can be as a
Council be more open or how we can work with other agencies for them to be more open to
Community Councils as well. So feel free to email us, Tweet us or just speak to us here
today, you know where to find us. So thanks for listening and um… I wasn’t too long
hopefully? Thank you.

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