DCLG Neighbourhood Engagement Masterclass

On Friday 20th April Liane participated in a DCLG Masterclass on Neighbourhood Engagement. This saw an eclectic mix of practitioners from across the community spectrum including housing asscoiations, community groups, social enterprises, civil servants and the third sectors share their insights and experiences in engaging communities. Liane sat in a group pondering “How to Make Engagement Sexy” which began with much predictable innuendo (sorry it had to be done) but quickly pointed out the failings of this analogy and its cosmetic, episodic and shallow connotations. Instead Protest is sexy – it has all the energy, intensity, drama and heightened emotion that engages and brings people in. For largely negative reasons. So perhaps its not sexiness we need but a way to harness that energy and emotion for positive uses. This is something Mend have been banging on about for a while; that and raising confidence to participate at a communty level. When people see the benefits of participation; and that its by people like you and me that are not necessarily experts but are willing to have a go and not afraid of maybe getting it wrong at first, then we are more likey to get others more involved. In the second session Tessy Britton gave an inspiring talk on the amazing things that ordinary people do in their everyday lives and communities. With a bit of imagination, encouragement and support from professionals communities can achieve amazing things. Is this sexy? Well it may not start off being so but the results definitely are. The key is to be locally specific, service a tangible need, use the resources, people, and skills that you already have and find a way to pull it altogether in one place. Sounds simple but is actually quite hard work. Which is why more than ever, communities and professionals need to work together as equals not one smothering the other.

Comments are closed.