|Refreshing your community plan|
It is important to regularly review the work that you do on your community plan which is considered to be a “living document”. If you did your original action plan over 4 years ago, it’s recommended that you undertake a refresh.
Why refresh your plan?
You may find there have been a lot of changes in your community over the past few years. There could have been new housing built, the population make up could have changed and of course new issues could now be coming to the fore. Communities are often affected by changes happening outside their boundaries and across the district, so think about the wider picture as well.
Sometimes issues have been missed when originally producing your plan. So this is a great opportunity to perhaps look at some new topics that may not have been covered previously. Refreshing your plan also gives the community their chance to comment on what has been achieved and what issues may still need addressing.
How do we refresh our plan?
Firstly it is a good idea to get the steering group together to review the community plan. There are a number of things that should be considered:
• What issues have been successfully addressed and how were they achieved?
• What other issues are still outstanding and need dealing with? Why is this?
• Have there been any delays to projects being completed? What, if anything, can be done about this?
• Have there been any changes within the community since the plan was first done i.e. new housing, loss of community services such as local shop or post office?
• Have there been any changes that have occurred outside the local community that directly affect the local area i.e . new housing development, road building, environmental issues?.
• Are there any topics that were not originally covered by the plan i.e. rural economy, affordable housing, environmental issues?
• Are there any new projects that have recently been identified about which you would like the community to have a say?
• How are we going to engage with the local community? Are there community organisations that could assist?
• Do we need any funding? If so, how much?
Why organise a public event?
It is a good idea to publicise your refresh and a good way to do this is by putting on a community event/public meeting. This way the community gets a chance to talk about any new issues that need addressing as well as giving feedback to the steering group about what has been achieved. It is also a great opportunity to get more people involved on the steering group. It is important that you get press releases and other publicity produced such as flyers and posters. Highlight the good things that have been achieved since the plan was produced and say how you would like to get feedback as well as finding out about any new community issues. Putting an article in the local parish newsletter or magazine would also be a good idea. Invite your parish, district and county councillors along to the event and make sure the community know they will be there. It may encourage more people to attend.
How do we consult with the community?
How do we complete our draft action plan?
As you will have completed an action plan before, you will know the importance of making sure key information is given. Below is a list of headings that could be used:
Objective – What needs to be achieved?
Action – How will this be achieved?
Priority – How important is it? – low, medium or high.
Timescale – How long is this likely to take? – days, weeks, months or years.
Project lead – Who is leading this project? Ie. parish council, Parish plan group
Project delivery – Which organisations are going to be involved in delivering the project? i.e. Local community, district council, county council.
Funding – Where will funding for the project come from?
Monitoring – Who will make sure the project is carried out? i.e. parish plan group, parish council.
It is important that when you have completed your draft action plan, that you consult with the community for their feedback. This will help you rank projects in order of priority and may enable you to gain more volunteers to help carry actions forward. It is essential to present the draft to your parish council with a view to them adopting it.
What kind of document should we produce for a refresh?
You do not need to produce a large document for your refresh. It does however need to contain the following sections:
• Parish Profile (information on population, dwellings, community buildings etc) This can also highlight any changes that have happened since production of the last plan.
• List of achievements from previous action plan explaining the need for a refresh.
• Information on consultation events and research for refresh including results of any questionnaires. Evidence must be produced to show you have consulted widely within the community. This must include the elderly, young people, disabled, single parents etc.
• A new revised clear action plan reflecting the community’s aspirations for the future.
It is also a good idea to acknowledge who has participated in completing the plan and who will be carrying the action plan forwards.