We wanted to start by reminding ourselves that the main objective of the Neighbourhood Forum is to enhance and/or maintain the quality of the area in which we live by:
· Discussing and influencing issues affecting the local community
· Raising awareness
· Informing the public of social developments
· Encourage people to show an interest in the area and bring together residents and others together to address community issues of concern and/or interest
In the last year we have focussed on delivering these aims by building community spirit, using community engagement to resolve problems and by building partnerships with other community groups.
· We built on our #sellysparkle and #sellyspring events by holding a community event in April which enhanced community spirit and increased awareness of the forum and other local community groups. It was this committee’s first attempt at such an event and something we wish to continue and build upon.
· We built on our relationships with The Active Wellbeing Society and Christ Church to deliver the community event.
· We supported initiatives from residents which have benefited our community such as the litter picking group, which also maintains some of the planters in our area, and the residents collecting for the foodbank.
· We supported Fruit and Nut Village’s Forest Garden on Pebble Mill Playing Field with funding and publicity to attract volunteers
· In partnership with Fruit and Nut Village, we installed new planters on Cecil Road to help alleviate parking issues
· We have kept our community informed of activities which will affect us such as the Pebble Mill Playing Field work for flood defences, flooding risks and planning applications.
Some of the issues our Neighbourhood faces cannot be solved by community action alone and need action from others. To that end
· We have lobbied our Councillors on improving the Dogpool Lane/Pershore Road junction and issues relating to HMOs, fly tipping, bins on pavements, etc. We will continue to pressure them to act.
· We are actively trying to get the developers of the student accommodation on Dogpool Lane to engage with the community.
· We have worked with our local PCSO to communicate to residents how to report issues so that action is taken. In response residents worked together to report a cannabis farm and intruders in back gardens.
As we move forward, we need to build on our successes but recognise that there is more to be done.
Firstly, we need to get residents more involved in what we do. Too much of the Forum’s work is done entirely by committee members. We need to look at changing our constitution to less dependent on an old-fashioned committee/public meetings/majority voting approach to a more modern, agile structure which is easier to engage with, empowering, decisive and proactive.
Secondly, we need to be more approachable. We see residents raising community issues or holding community events on social media but are rarely approached by them for the support we can offer.
Finally, we need extract more support and feedback from our Councillors and the police. Too often we raise issues which are in their remit to resolve, actions are promised but nothing changes, and nothing is fed back. Too often when we find out that something is going to happen in our area we are told ‘but we’ve been talking too you councillors about it’.
It just remains to thank all those who have supported us throughout the year. Without you
the Forum would not exist.