Most of the Invest Local areas are well into the consultation process now, with all of them taking slightly different approaches to the process. Maesgeirchen decided to use some of their Getting Going money to fund someone to undertake the consultation with local residents.
Andy Davies was previously a Project Officer with the ‘old’ Communities First Programme and has great local knowledge and rapport with the MaesG residents.
Working alongside PMP (Partneriaeth Maesgeirchen Partnership) and the local residents group, Andy has spent the past four months organising a series of events and activities to bring the community together and have conversations about what the people of MaesG would like happening on their estate.
From visiting a local knitting group to rapping workshops to running a family funday, Andy has spoken to hundreds of people who live on the estate. And luckily for us, he’s kept a diary of what he’s been up to. Here are a just a few entries showing the diverse range of activities that have taken place.
23rd June - Referendum Day Questionnaire Filling
Took advantage of Referendum and camped outside Ty Cegin (the community centre), stopping MaesG residents on their way out after voting.
24th June - Stitch & Bitch Knitting Group Tete-A-Tete
Stitch and Bitch are a knitting group who have been meeting every Friday for the past 10 years or so. I introduced the group to the Invest Local Programme and began a discussion about how MaesG might benefit from the programme and what specific needs could be addressed with the money.
3rd and 10th August - Junior Wardens
The Junior Wardens, who are part of Cartrefi Cymunedol’s young tenants engagement programme from Maesgeirchen, participated in fun activities to stimulate their awareness of environments and how designing and building the places we live can have a positive impact on our lives. They also photographed some of their favorite places on the estate and identified the areas they’d like to see developed on a map of MaesG. Some amazing ideas were generated, like a Home Zones for children to play in where vehicles are restricted.
6th August - Bangor Carnival Day
Shared a stand with Wild Elements, a social enterprise dedicated to getting people outdoors and closer to nature. With three of us from Invest Local, we had almost 10 hours-worth of conversations with residents.
24th August - Multi-Agency Estate Walkabout
Spent half a day walking the streets of MaesG with individuals from various agencies, including the police, housing association and County Councillors Nigel P and Dylan Fernley. Spent time talking to residents about Invest Local and filling in questionnaires.
24th August - Session with Majorettes
Spent an hour with the local majorettes, filling in questionnaires and discussing the potential implications of Invest Local on the lives of young people living in MaesG.
17th September - MaesG Fun Day
A brilliant and very productive day. We talked to people while they were having fun at this family fun day, with approx 100 full questionnaires filled in and around 100 for children. Excellent support for this event from all quarters, including CFW (Communities for Work) and Communities 1st, CCG (the housing association), Groundwork Wales and Eglwys Y Groes (the local church) to name but a few. Lots of stand-out volunteer performances, with volunteers knocking doors as well as catching people at the actual event.
30th September - Macmillan’s Big Coffee Morning
Set up a gazebo near the shops on the estate and served tea and cake, raising money for Macmillan while talking to local residents.
24-27th October - Half-Term Play Scheme
The Play Scheme was delivered by Wild Elements. The first two days involved activities on the estate, with days three and four going off-site to visit Norris Green Youth and Community Centre in Liverpool and Talysarn to see the BMX track. The afternoon of day four was used for evaluation and project ideas inspired by these visits.
2nd and 9th November - Introduction to Music and Performance
Workshops for young people with the very passionate Owen Maclean, a local resident and rapper, who would like to set up a music project in the future to work with disaffected young people on the Maesgeirchen estate.
The final step in MaesG’s Invest Local journey was the Winter Wonderland on Saturday 17th Dec, where Andy presented the ‘BCT Big Reveal’, highlighting what the people of MaesG have said during the consultations and getting them to vote on who they’d like to see deliver the next phase of the programme going forward.