Imagine Anfield Flourishing is about people and how the people of Anfield will determine what’s best for them and their community development. The journey started with a conversation in June 2012, which has led to 100s of conversations being held across Anfield since. All of those conversations are contributing to the emerging actions for a people plan designed by, with and for the people of Anfield.
Anfield Breckside Community Council (ABCC), Appreciating People and other partners have worked together within the community to help local people identify their strengths skills and resources, imagining a future that is based on what is working now and to start making this happen.
Instead of the traditional aims and objectives normally associated with strategic plans this plan has focused on agreeing a series of intentions – more than 20 years of traditional regeneration initiatives have had little perceived impact on the lives of the people living here. There is recognition that lasting change will only come about from within the community.
Phil Taylor is the project coordinator for AP. He says: ‘It’s been an unforgettable experience. I’ve witnessed firsthand what makes Anfield tick – the people. Time again people have told me that this is a great community with amazing neighbours and community spirit. My family are all from the area originally and this evoked memories of neighbours looking out for each other and pulling together. The sense of community or belonging has never gone away.‘
An essential part of the work has been to take an approach that focuses on what is good, positive and works for Anfield. We’ve trained local people in Appreciative Inquiry as a way of identifying and building on those strengths – and this has given them the skills and confidence to be part of the programme, have their voices heard and hold conversations with friends and neighbours
In this way their intentions/aspirations have emerged. The main areas are:
- Tackle food poverty through the food u need programme
- Raise levels of health and wellbeing for all Anfield people
- Create a positive external Anfield view
- Engender a culture of self-reliance and self-determination
A curious effect of this type of approach is that projects begin to happen even without a plan. The energy and enthusiasm releases people to start doing things. For Imagine Anfield Flourishing the following actions have begun to emerge:
- Under the Food-u-Need programme the beginnings of a ‘Incredible Edible’ project created in the ABCC forecourt, and the early development of the Anfield Soup Company concept
- ABCC are now part of an EU funded adult learning exchange programme with Prague and Turin. In Sumer 2014 we will host 20 Czechs and Italians as part of the International Festival of Business.
- Under the health and well being programme the development of the OWLS (older wiser living sociably) helping older people, and the Appreciative Self programme for women. (Funded by Red Nose Day and further work has just received a Rathbone trust grant)
Recognising that we live in a complex and chaotic world the people plan is built around the concept of intentions and programme themes allowing for adaption and flexibility and giving space for new ideas and projects which are continuing to emerge.
The journey is just beginning…