AP community development group gets Guardian blog

Appreciating People, community development, Oldham, Big Local, Guardian blog

This month's Guardian blogger Steph Gill – with Audra, Laura and Donna from Oldham Play Action Group – reveals the Greenacres Community Centre visual minutes

The Big Local area that AP director Suzanne Quinney works with in Oldham has been chosen as the subject of a monthly Guardian blog, which will follow its community development journey. The area of Clarksfield, Greenacres and Littlemoor encompasses a 30-strong group of local residents, police community support officers, the local Primary Care Trust and local councillors, who have been meeting regularly to discuss what they want to achieve through Big Local.

Some of the creative ideas they’ve come up with to gauge what the community is interested in include a temporary cafe, where waiters acted as community researchers, talking to customers about the local area; helping children produce short films on what the area could be like in the future; offering free haircuts to people who’re happy to air their views about community changes as they’re pampered; working with students to create a song with missing words for people to fill in the gaps with suggestions for what would make their area a better place to live and using visual minutes to record meetings and conversations.

Conversations have already been held with over 600 residents about what needs to change in Oldham, and ideas have included providing skills training for local people and supplying information about support for businesses and social enterprises. People want to use the £1m to attract more money and resources into the area, so that there is a long term legacy.

Suzanne said: ‘This is a group of really dedicated and creative residents and local workers committed to engaging with the widest reach of people that they can. Im really looking forward to seeing what they decide to do a final community vision event – which will tie together everything that they have done to date.

The Guardian Northerner will carry monthly posts from residents on how it’s working out, so you can follow their progress – the first, which you can read here – is from Steph Gill, who manages the Greenacres community centre.