Seven Streets opens its doors
The 7 Streets project is now under way, with a core team in place and a regular open invitation for local residents to pop into the re-opened Community Information Centre on Silchester Rd. Chris Connelley, the newly appointed community development worker, takes up the story.
Welcome to this new blog, which will chart the progress of a distinctive new community project based around a cluster of seven roads in Central St. Leonards.
Specifically, Silchester Road, Kenilworth Road, Carisbrooke Road, Stockleigh Road, Rothsay Road, Cardiff Road and the lower half of Pevensey Road.
The idea is to do something very local and practical, through encouraging people to talk to each other, share what they like and dislike about where they live and, most importantly, when they identify issues of concern, to take action to ensure those issues are properly addressed.
In some cases, residents will be able to sort things themselves. In other instances, they will need to work with other people and outside bodies, like the health services, police, council or landlords, to make the changes they want.
Our overall goal is that over the next 18 months, we can recruit a network of street representatives able to the make the strongest case for the area in their dealings with power.
We are also hoping that the street reps will be backed up a set of affinity groups, ensuring that they do not get overloaded and ‘burn out’, and that as many people as possible are involved in a range of different ways.
We are genuinely looking to involve new people and will be offering high quality support and training so that all our community volunteers are well connected and feel confident to do a brilliant job.
7 Streets is being co-ordinated by a small team, made up of local resident and HOT contributor Richard Hull, Moveable Feast legend Cat Morrow and veteran local councillor Trevor Webb. I joined the team at the end of May, completing the line-up and offering ‘hands on’ experience of community activism stretching back over almost 20 years.
Organisationally, 7 Streets comes under the umbrella of the Gensing and St. Leonards Community Forum, which has been working to improve the town for many years. It the originator of the annual St. Leonards Festival and the host for the Community Information Centre on Silchester Road.
We are fortunate to benefit from some project funding from the People’s Health Trust, an independent charity addressing health inequalities across Great Britain
Over the last few days, we have been setting up our base in the Community Information Centre on Silchester Road, and have already met a number of residents who have popped in for a chat and to find out what is going on.
We know that many local people care passionately about their neighbourhood and have strong opinions about what needs doing. In fact, we are already picking up on concerns about anti-social behaviour and problems with the communal street bins, topics we will be surely be returning to in future blogs.
For now, though, two points.
We are opening the Community Information Centre every Thursday morning from 10.30-12.30 for residents to drop in, meet the team and share ideas. We guarantee you a warm welcome.
If you can’t make this time – and we do hope to offer more opening slots soon – we can arrange to talk to you at a time of your choice. Just leave us a message on 01424 438291, pop a note through the door of the CIC at 14/16 Silchester Road or drop me an email on email@example.com.
As the old BT ad put it, its good to talk.