What's the point in Community Engagement?
You may know that YourMK has a Community Team. But who are they, what do they do and why?
The team transferred to YourMK from the council and have been working together for about 18 months with two main aims: the first is engagement; sharing information with residents and helping YourMK understand community needs and the second is support; supporting residents to become more active where they live.
Engagement is all about two way communication; listening to people and finding out what their priorities are, helping people to understand what YourMK is doing and planning and then discussing the plans and the future possibilities with people in neighbourhoods. Support follows on from this – when we understand together what the priorities are and supporting communities to achieve them.
Of course this all can seem a bit vague! Chatting to people, going to meetings, listening and promoting events. But without this engagement and our regular communication through local channels, it is easy to get things wrong; make assumptions and head off in the wrong direction. We are here to make sure that does not happen.
Engagement and development are central to the whole regeneration programme. YourMK will not be able to please everyone, and will have to make some tough decisions, but by listening, engaging and working with people the process will be fairer and the resulting outcomes better for everyone.
And community engagement is very rewarding. We know that it can help, even though it takes a lot of time. So far this year the team has spoken to nearly 700 people about regeneration and spent time working with over 130 local groups.
The team has three members: Lizzie Bailes, Charlie Davies and Anne Bircham.
Charlie works on Fullers Slade, Lakes Estate and Netherfield. “I’m MK born and raised and so it is natural for me to spend time with others trying to bring about the improvements we all want.”
Anne works on Beanhill, Bradville, Coffee Hall and Tinkers Bridge, said: I have worked in Milton Keynes for many years and I love working in partnership with the people and groups across many estates, supporting growth and opening up new opportunities for all.”
Lizzie manages the team. “I have worked within community development in Milton Keynes for 8 years, and now I manage our Communities team, I love being able to lead programmes that enhance local involvement.”
The Community Team have a twitter account and a Facebook page. Please follow us @YourMKCommuity and like us on Facebook (search YourMK)
If you would like us to post anything to promote your upcoming community project/event please contact us – we are happy to share.
Contact the team on 01908 991653.