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Alvechurch Parish Council

serving Alvechurch, Bordesley, Forhill, Hopwood, Rowney Green and Weatheroak.

Community Engagement

A pdf version of this policy may be downloaded below:
Community Engagement
Community Engagement Policy 2023

What is Community Engagement?

Engagement’ is used as a generic, inclusive term to describe the broad range of interactions between people. It can include a variety of approaches, such as one-way communication or information delivery, consultation, involvement and collaboration in decision-making, and empowered action in informal groups or formal partnerships.

The word ‘Community’ is also a very broad term used to define groups of people and the individuals within them; whether they are stakeholders, interest groups, residents etc. A community may be a geographic location (community of place), a community of similar interest (community of practice), or a community of affiliation or identity (such as industry or sporting club).

‘Community Engagement’ is therefore a planned process with the specific purpose of working with identified groups of people or individuals to address issues affecting their well-being.

The linking of the term ‘community’ to ‘engagement’ serves to broaden the scope, shifting the focus from the individual to the collective to ensure consideration is made of the diversity that exists within any community.

Introduction

The purpose of this Policy is to guide Alvechurch Parish Council’s communication activity and public engagement. The Council aims to ensure that there are effective channels of communication both from the Council to the public and from the public to the Council.

Aims

Alvechurch Parish Council aims to:

  • work more closely with residents, business and community groups;
  • engage with as many people as possible in decision making, monitoring services and planning for the future;
  • ensure that through the use of a wide range of approaches to public involvement and community engagement that residents are encouraged to share their views, ideas and concerns with the Council;
  • use the views of the residents as an integral part of the decision-making process; and
  • ensure that residents have opportunities to be heard at every stage.

Objectives
The Council is committed to creating and maintaining effective working relationships with all sectors of the community, based on trust, openness and constructive challenge.
The Councils objectives include:

  • improving communication through the establishment of new channels of engagement;
  • improving residents understanding of the role of the Council and Councillors;
  • improving engagement with local communities, with more people feeling that they are involved in their area; and
  • improving satisfaction with local public services and stakeholders

Alvechurch Parish Council intends to meet its objectives through:

1. Honesty and Openness

  • making clear the purpose of any engagement activity;
  • using the right methods to engage the local community;
  • using engagement methods that are proportionate to the significance of the issue;
  • being clear about what can be influenced; and
    using honest, accurate and unbiased

2. Listening

  • listening and responding to individuals and communities, enabling and empowering residents to play an effective role in setting priorities, designing services and influencing decisions to shape their local area.

3. Inclusion

  • undertaking fair and impartial engagement to a high standard to ensure that all residents are offered equal opportunities to participate in issues that may affect them and make a difference.

4. Working Together

  • working together with a consistent approach to community engagement;
  • sharing knowledge and information openly with residents and partner organisations, whilst respecting confidentiality; and
  • using what has been learnt from contact with local people to better understand and engage with the community, and to improve the services it delivers.

5. Keeping in Touch

    • Providing feedback and demonstrating that changes are made as a result of effective community consultation
    • Using the following tools to inform, consult and involve:
      • posters, fliers and publications (newsletters);
      • public, neighbourhood and specific meetings including Parish Council meetings, Annual Parish meeting etc;
      • parishioners are encouraged to attend Full Council and Committee Meetings and time is set aside at all meetings for public participation at all these meetings;
      • presentations and briefings;
      • website updates, email, Facebook page etc;
      • questionnaires and surveys;
      • consultation events/workshops/exhibitions/general events;
      • Working parties;
      • community led plans i.e. Parish Plan, Neighbourhood Development Plan; and
      • comments and complaints

Provision of Information to the Community

Alvechurch Parish Council will make available to the community information relating to who we are, what we do, what we spend and how we spend it, how we make decisions, our policies and procedures and the services we offer.

Information will be provided to the community in the following ways:

  • contact details for the Clerk and all Councillors are displayed on the Council’s website
  • the Council’s website address is widely published and the site contains all the information an individual might wish to know about the work of the Parish Council and its individuals, including meeting minutes, policy documents, financial statements, annual report and how to contact anyone associated with the Parish Council
  • information such as agendas are published on the 5 notice boards located in the Parish, on the website and a post is put on Facebook with a link to the full agenda

Opportunities for formal representations to the Council

  • Representations to the Parish Council will normally be considered at the next meeting of the relevant standing committee.
  • If, however, they require the provision of information only, then the clerk will provide it in accordance with the council’s publication scheme.
  • The Parish Council has a Code of Practice for handling complaints, which is available from the clerk, published on the website and reviewed annually.
  • The publication of agendas on the Parish Council’s notice boards and website gives parishioners the opportunity to make representation to the council before agenda items are discussed.
  • All formal representations received are responded to in writing.

Councillors Surgeries

Your local councillors can help and advise on all local Council related matters. Councillors’ surgeries take place as follows, with no appointment necessary. Ward councillors may also be contacted via the Parish Office.
Councillor Surgeries
Councillor Surgeries July 2023 onwards

The next Councillor Surgery will be held in Hopwood @  Hopwood Community Centre on 14th March 2024 :
From 7pm 
(No appointment necessary; this is a Drop In Session).
' Do come along and meet your Councillors and have your say........  We are interested in your view concerning community issues in Alvechurch and more.......'

Community Projects

Alvechurch Parish Council is pleased to be able to offer its support to the following Community Groups:

pdf

INTRODUCING  Alvechurch’s ‘Unsung Community Hero Award’ [May 2023]
The Alvechurch Unsung Community Hero Award would like to recognise anyone who has positively enhanced the lives of others in our community; those who work quietly behind the scenes with a positive attitude, a willingness to help in whatever capacity necessary and a commitment in doing so, to a high standard.…..to these persons the Parish Council extends its thanks and appreciation.

To nominate an Unsung Community Hero please email details to:  clerk@alvechurch.gov.uk
[Note:  Councillors will consider nominations twice a year, in June & February] 

Alvechurch Footpath Lighting Upgrade (May 2023)
The long-awaited upgrade of the 136 pathway lighting columns and lanterns has taken place over the course of the last year. Following a comprehensive tender process and evaluation of the quotes received, the Alvechurch Parish Council obtained a Public Works loan and instructed a specialist contractor to undertake the work. The upgrade has almost been completed and those few lights still to be addressed
have specific technical reasons needing to be resolved first.

-In addition, initial indications are that a significant saving on the energy consumed and billed will result from the upgrade.
20MPH is Plenty - Alvechurch 
Alvechurch Parish council is pleased to be part of the 20's plenty Scheme.
The centre of Alvechurch speed limit has been reduced and we believe it is now a safer environment for our residents.

For more information on this scheme please see: 20's Plenty for Us (20splenty.org)
Alvechurch Picnic in The Park
The 2023 Picnic which took place on 28th May was the 11th such event, and what a turn out... the sun was shining and a great day was had by all who attended .......
 
The event started at 10.30 with a fun Dog Show which ran until just before the official opening at 12 noon. There were activities for all, ranging from bouncy castles, sporting competitions, to tombola's, quizzes to story reading, face painting to cake stalls and lots more besides.
Look out for information re. the 2024 Picnic In The Park Event – hope to see you next year!
The Lounge
The Lounge is a charity run Cafe located in the heart of the village of Alvechurch, Worcestershire.

As a Community café we pride ourselves with the work we do in supporting the local community. Through our dedicated Friendship Matters senior support sessions on a Monday, we aim to help tackle loneliness and isolation by providing a safe, accessible and friendly space for seniors. Where they can take part in seated exercises, different weekly activities, receive subsidised hot food and drinks and benefit from the company of others. This group has now doubled in size from when it started over 3 years ago.

Our Community café is open to the public from Tues - Sat 9.00 - 3.00 offering a warm, welcoming and relaxed space, with a large selection of hot & cold food, cakes and locally sourced coffee. The aim is to keep prices affordable for all.

The Youth @ The Lounge offer 4 weekly (term time) youth group sessions after school, at a subsidised rate, allowing it to be accessible to all from 9 years upwards. As well as offsite school holiday activities for local youth.

Throughout the year The Lounge runs and supports local community events, which includes community litter picks, an Easter Trail, Picnic in the park stall, supporting the Scarecrow Trail as well as hosting storytelling events on an evening.

The Lounge Community café is in the heart of the village and we want to continue to offer & be the safe, welcoming space for the whole community. As a registered charity ( Alvechurch Communities Together) we rely on funding, as well as customer spending to continue the work we do. We are always looking at how we can further expand our support to the community. Any additional funding will help us to continue to offer our current community support groups/activities and to help us to keep our café prices affordable for all, when everything else is increasing with the cost-of-living crisis.

https://www.facebook.com/alvechurchlounge/
The Community Larder
The Community Larder is located at The Baptist Church in the centre of Alvechurch.
  • Opening Times: Every Friday between 11am - 12.30pm
  • A List of Community Warm Hubs compiled by the Parish Council is also available to view.
https://www.crownmeadow.worcs.sch.uk/alvechurch-community-larder-community-calendar/
Cleaner, Greener, Alvechurch
Cleaner, Greener, Alvechurch is a local volunteer organisation focusing passionately on protecting our environment, and helping people develop a more sustainable lifestyle.
Cleaner Greener Alvechurch
AVS footpath maintenance team (Maintenance of PRoWs…Public Rights of Way)