It all started with listening to residents. They detected a need for a community hub and supported by the local Community Organisers, Maurice O’Connell and Debbie Skerrett, they managed to make that vision a reality. Minister Francis Maude came to see how the project is getting along and what benefits has it brought to the local area.
During the Ministers visit COs Maurice and Debbie talked about some of the issues and challenges facing their community. Issues included people not feeling safe in their homes while being faced with cuts to the local police team, anti-social behaviour, local drug use, fly-tipping, and dog-fouling.
Some of the local volunteers told the MP about the importance of the residents being informed of what is happening in their area, and how part of the role of the newly established Community Hub was meeting that need through information and networking events such as drop-in surgeries, where residents have the opportunity to chat with the local PCSOs.
The Community Hub was set up in partnership with the Community Development Trust, Sanctuary Housing, and through local Community First funding. It is run by local volunteers and provides a community space for local residents to come together, to be listened to, and have an opportunity to have their voices heard about issues that are important to them. What started with listening to local people now stands as a testament to the impact the community organising process can have in an area.