i’ve been meaning to set aside a time to talk but haven’t gotten there yet.
There were two projects I was involved with a few years ago that involve communities who took control. Both are on the south coast of NSW, Australia. I gave you some information about Sanctuary Point Community Pride. This has been incredibly successful and formed a model on how the council worked with community.
This group grew out of perceived crime in the area. People thought that it was better 20 years ago when they first moved there. The result of their lobbying was a large public meeting with police, local members and council. The meeting had two sections. A formal sections where police painted a picture of their involvement and crime stats and council providing a summary of infrastructure works in the area. At the end of the formal section we broke into a world cafe format with an emphasis on ABCD type actions ie what was good or strong in the area, identify assets etc. at the end the meeting reconvened and formed a committee to progress actions. Council initially chaired the meeting. One council staff member worked on physical infrastructure planning to enhance the area. The person chairing the meeting worked hard steering the group to an ABCD agenda. At first it was frustrating work. Few involved had committee experience and were easily sidetracked to minor concerns such as insurance. It was only when they eventually settled on a Spring into Sanctuary Point event to showcase the local services and community groups that things gelled. From that point on the group went from strength to strength. They attracted support from the local community bank and attracted members who had skills in planning and committee work. After about two years Council was able to withdraw. That was probably 8-10 years ago.
The group has continued. They lobbied, raised funds for a learn to ride track for children. They care for this themselves, they have a men’s shed and we’re running a homework centre (not sure if this still operates), they are involved with the community safety committee at council.
today I saw where they were awarded a grant of $188k from the state government to improve the cosmetic look of the area. An excellent example of ABCD in action.
there is a similar committee in east Nowra, who again commenced from crime concerns. They fly solo as well.
i think one of the issues for workers is having patience to see it through and continue to rephrase issues raised into positives or potentials. I know I wanted the worker in sanctuary point to withdraw earlier as it didn’t look to be successful but her patience and determination resulted in lengthy engagement and commitment with long term gains. Two years work and the project still going strong ten years later.