Community Engagement Strategy


1. Introduction.

2006 saw the publication of the Preston Parish Plan, closely followed by the Village Design Statement. These publications were initiated by the Parish Council and are a summary of the aspirations of residents for the economic, social and environmental development of Preston for the foreseeable future. The whole community was involved in identifying its needs and as such, the Parish plan is a tangible expression of the local voice.

Preston Parish Council is committed to engaging residents by encouraging them to become actively involved in decisions that affect them and the community, to deliver better services and to improve the quality of life of residents by creating a more active and informed community.

2. Aims.

* Improve the way in which the Council communicates with members of the public.

*listen to the view of residents in important matters.

*to use these views to deliver better services.

*improve the long term social, economic and environmental well being of residents.

*to plan future development of the parish in accordance with the needs and priorities of the residents.

3. Objectives.

* to use a variety of methods to make information available.

* to actively facilitate and encourage community participation.

*to proactively engage with all sections of the community.

* to ensure that decisions meet the needs of the community by involving members of the community in the decision making process.

*to work in partnership with other organisations and/or authorities to improve the quality and delivery of services.

*to enhance the wellbeing of members of the community

4. Communication with the community.

Information will be made available in a variety of ways to ensure that all sections of the community are reached.

Parish Council Notice Board.

Information, including agenda for meetings and contact details for the Clerk and Councillors is displayed on the notice board at Bishop Jenner Green.

Kentish Gazette.

The Gazette is used to provide reports of Parish Council Meetings.

Parish Newsletter.

Information on the issues being discussed by the Parish council is reported in the parish newsletter which is published every three months and distributed to every members of the community.

The Parish Council Website.

The website provides much information for residents including minutes of Meetings, forthcoming agenda, council policies, local news and forthcoming events. The local news page will be developed to include articles on important local issues and changes in government policies and/or legislation that will impact on the work of the Parish council or the wellbeing of the community.

Where information affects a specific section of the community, the Council will ensure that this information is delivered directly to the village organisations representing that section of the community, for example mothers and toddlers, pre-school etc. The council will also continue to receive reports from the various community organisations at each council meeting.

5. Opportunities for Community Involvement.

Parish Council Meetings.

Meetings are open to the public and a time ids set aside, prior to the commencement of the meeting, for members of the parish to make comments or to ask questions. Residents will also continue to be encouraged to submit items to councillors on matters they wish to be brought to the meeting or to raise issues through the Clerk.

Message Centre.

Residents will be encouraged to use the Message Centre on the Parish Website to raise uses on matters affecting the community.

6. Surveys.

Consultations and surveys on important issues will be carried out and results of all consultations and surveys to be made available to residents

The council will ensure that those most affected by an issue will be given an opportunity to voice an opinion.

The Annual Parish Meeting will continue to be used to obtain the views of residents on matters affecting the community.

7. Partnership Working.

The Parish Council is committed to working with local voluntary and community groups to improve the quality of life of residents.

The Parish Council will work with Local Authorities (District, County and the Police) to ensure an improvement in the quality and delivery of services. The Parish Council will work with neighbouring councils to find a solution to common problems.

The Parish Council will continue to support and engage with local organisations to assist them in meeting their own aims and objectives. It will continue to support local projects and events.

A copy of the Parish Plan and Village Design Statement has been delivered to each house in the parish. Members of the community and village organisations will be encouraged to become actively involved in addressing the issues highlighted in the Plan including:

Improving facilities for young people.

Improving facilities for the more elderly in the parish.

Improving facilities for young families.

Reducing vandalism, and anti-social behaviour.

Reducing traffic speed and the number of heavy goods vehicles passing though the village.

Providing affordable housing.

The Community Engagement Strategy will be reviewed annually to assess its effectiveness and amended as necessary.

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