Given the resources faced by the community and voluntary sector, what actions do we need for communities, groups and individuals to take together to achieve the best outcomes for Swindon?
Saturday 10 September, 10am to 3pm, Pinetrees Community Centre, to discuss parishing, libraries, HealthWatch, managing community facilities, whether Swindon policies are fit for purpose.
Organised and hosted by volunteers. Drinks supplied, bring your own lunch
Book a place by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or 07773 574681.
About the conference which has been 8 years in the making:
Marilyn Beale writes: The organisers of this conference are not as a group politically aligned, we are community activists. We are keen NOT to have knockabout political debates.
We are concerned about all that is being asked of us and our communities with the current plans and the lack of support resources. Our aim, I suppose, is to unpick that and see/clarify what we might need to be able to do the jobs.
We are calling it a ‘Grumblers’ Conference because we have been meeting for lunch once a month, now since about 2008, when we were no longer needed by the Swindon Strategic Partnership as their Neighbourhood Renewal Task Group. It was a way to keeping each other as informed as possible and discuss things and yes, we do sometimes grumble. Via our own groups we have all taken direct action/campaigned at one point or another. We are not a formal group, it is myself, Marilyn Beale, Dorothy Brown from Pinehurst, Carol Brownlee from Parks and Joe Backshell. Over the years, others have been invited to participate.
We have asked John Stooke to come and be positive about what it’s like to be parish councillor and take questions. We hope this won’t get bogged down in the ‘do we, or do we not’ want to be parished. It’s a chance to find out more about the calibre of person and the training needed to be a good parish councillor. This may lead all to a better understanding of the big ask of volunteers to take on these jobs.
Sarah Church, Save Swindon Libraries campaigner, will lead the discussion on the potential local management of libraries.
There will be an hour’s break for lunch for networking and a Speakers Corner to enable any voice to be heard. A Post-It wall will be available for written comments and ideas.
One of the grumblers Joe Backshell is a keen and life long supporter and champion of people with disabilities. So at his request, Mark Edwards, of Healthwatch, who is a newly appointed worker, will speak about new information and will take questions.
Sue Webber, a well known and trusted facilitator will take us through some of the discussions, in particular the session about what it takes and the realities of setting up new groups to take on some of the jobs, including managing community facilities.