Background of project:
Surfleet is a rural community situated in the district of South Holland. The current population is around 1285 with a larger population of older people and a lower percentage of younger people than across the county generally.
Members of the community felt there was a need:
- To find out what were the issues important to the community
- To make known those issues affecting the community
- To identify and prioritise the key issues
- To produce an Action Plan to promote the changes that the community wanted to see at parish, district and county levels
- To inform and engage the community in implementing the action plan.
In March 2008 an Open Meeting took place where Community Lincs and a member of South Holland District Council presented on the process of undertaking a Community Led Plan and the potential benefits. It was felt that a Community plan was the most appropriate tool of community engagement and empowerment to enable the community’s needs to be addressed.
Surfleet were fortunate in benefiting from the Rural Sustainable Communities Programme operating at this time and received a grant of £2300 to support the development of their plan.
In May 2008 a Steering group consisting of ten community representatives was formed, the first job was to hold an open day to publicise the project to local residents and businesses. In the following twelve months a wide variety of consultation techniques were implemented to ensure all members of the community had a chance to have their say. Community Lincs supported this process with consultation ideas and through providing access to the excellent toolkit developed through the Rural Community Council network.
Examples of the consultation activities arranged were:
- Young people’s consultation arranged at the Village Hall
- Darts Match, Folk Night and Visits to village groups:
- Questionnaire, including a Youth section, delivered to all households that yielded a 38.61% Response rate
The next stage was to input all the data collected, undertake the analysis and then work with the community and services providers to prioritise the main issues and suggestions for improvement into an achievable plan of action. Once the action plan had been finalised it was adopted by the parish council (November 2009) and then launched at a community event in mid-January 2010 attended by 65 people.
The benefits to Surfleet of undertaking a Community Plan were:
- Enabled the Steering Group to find out the needs and wishes of Surfleet residents
- A collective voice and consensus on many issues was ascertained
- Gave a voice to residents through the variety of consultation methods undertaken
- The views and opinions of present and future development were collected
- Found Evidence of some needs for all age groups
Three action groups under the headings of Community, Service and Environment were set up to deliver the action plan attracting residents who had previously not been involved. This has resulted in a number of positive outcomes.
Community Group held a celebrate Surfleet day this was so well supported that there are plans for this to be an annual event. The group have also run an indoor craft fair and weekly events and holiday schemes for the children and youth in the village.
Services group developed a “Welcome” pack for newcomers, reinvigorated the neighbourhood watch scheme with new co-ordinators recruited and began talks with the District council on the need for affordable homes. This has highlighted a call for land and Community Lincs Rural Housing Enablers are working with the District and Parish Council, to look for appropriate sites
They have also linked with The County Volunteer Drivers’ scheme and recruited 2 volunteer drivers who are now accredited and are helping to address the access issues faced by the community
Environment group undertaken litter picks and walks around the village and are pursuing the sponsorship of roundabouts in the area to improve their overall appearance.
“The power of the plan can be demonstrated and community spirit
enhanced. As members of the same community we are meeting people
we have not spoken to before, as well as doing something for
the village as a whole”
Mary Hurst Chair of Surfleet Community Plan Steering Group.