Community Boards would give a voice to local people, giving you a chance to work with the council and other local people to make a difference for your community.
But, how could Community Boards work in practice? To help explain, we’ve created three possible scenarios that could be discussed and resolved through a Buckinghamshire Community Board.
Scenario 1: Activities for young people
Over the school holidays there have been problems with young people in the village disturbing residents by playing loud music until late in the playing fields. They’ve also been ‘hanging around’ by the local shop, which has been intimidating some older residents.
Partnership working in action
The police were unable tackle these concerns on their own as they did not have the resources to provide a permanent police presence. However, the local PCSO raised it at the local community board meeting to see if there was anything that could be done collectively.
The Community Board agreed that they wanted to help and formed a small task and finish group led by the local councillor to investigate and find a solution. The local councillor contacted the local youth worker and asked them to help.
At the first meeting of the task and finish group, the youth worker explained that there were no activities for young people in the village or places for them to go, and no buses in the evenings to the nearby town.
The task and finish group agreed to work with local young people to co-design activities and space in the village for them. Through further discussion it was agreed to:
- Build a youth shelter and gym on empty space owned by Buckinghamshire Council
- Develop a funding bid to the community board & parishes to provide a programme of events for young people for the following summer.
Improved community services
The funding bid for the programme of activities and youth space was successful and enabled pooled funding from parishes and the Community Board.
Anti-social behaviour incidents went down in the area. As a result of the success of this project the community safety and youth service teams are now working in three other areas with Community Boards to improve community facilities and activities for young people.
Scenario 2: Local bus service for older people
At the local community board recent changes to local bus services was discussed. It was identified that some older and vulnerable people who did not drive or have access to a car would be isolated in their area and unable to get out and about.
Following the meeting, a group of individuals got together to think about how they could solve this issue in their local area. They looked up similar schemes that happen elsewhere in the country and decided that they would like to try and get funding for a local minibus that would be run by volunteers to take older and vulnerable people to activities or to the local town to do their shopping.
A social enterprise was formed and a funding application was put together to get funding for a mini bus that could be bought to serve local residents. The application was successful and work started to purchase the bus and source volunteer drivers to run the service.
Improved community services
After some teething issues the bus service is up and running and is serving groups from local schools to lunch clubs.
Scenario 3: Social isolation for new mothers
At the Community Boards’ annual meeting a report was received showing overall data on the profile of residents’ needs in the area. This report highlighted evidence of a particular issue with the social isolation and mental health of mothers in the area, with a lack of community activities.
A partnership approach
The Community Board asked the Health and Wellbeing sub-group to look into the issue and identify what could be done to address it. The community co-ordinator ensured that a more detailed report was produced by the council’s Family Support Service to help understand the issue and identify service gaps.
At the next Health and Wellbeing sub-group the issue was discussed further. All key people involved attended—the GP representative on the Primary Care Network, the area manager from the Family Support Service, a local NCT volunteer, parish representatives and councillors.
It was agreed that there was a gap in provision and that the voluntary and community sector should be encouraged to submit funding bids to expand and set-up volunteer led activities such as stay and play sessions and exercise classes.
The community co-ordinator worked with different groups in the voluntary and community sector to develop funding proposals that met this need. The Community Board and parishes were approached to secure funding.
A positive outcome for the community
There are now five additional sessions in the area for activities for parents with children 0-5. The funding was used to help the groups set-up and they are now successful operating independently through asking for small £1 donations for attending activities, and through free use of the local parish council building.