The community in Falcon Lodge came together for an afternoon of discussion about the future of the estate on Friday 12 January.
In the first Community Conference in the area, residents, Councillors and representatives from key agencies (including BCC Housing, BMET college, YMCA, local schools, the Youth service, Sutton Coldfield Children’s Centre, MUBU, Job Centre Plus, local churches and community groups) debated the strengths of the local community and what they would like to see in place to improve the lives of residents.
The conference is part of a piece of work by Compass Support and funded by Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council to create a robust Community Plan for Falcon Lodge to run from 2018 through to 2021.
As part of the planning, Compass Support have been carrying out research and consultation with key agencies and members of the community to capture the strengths, needs and aspirations for the Falcon Lodge estate, and the discussions from the Community Conference will contribute to this research.
Conference attendees were delighted that both Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP and Councillor Simon Ward, Leader of Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council, were able to attend.
Opening the Conference, Councillor Ward said: “There is a tremendous amount of community spirit in Falcon Lodge, and I am very pleased to have been invited to this Community Conference. The Town Council is the level of local government closest to residents and by definition community plans will be integral to the development of the council. This conference marks the public launch of the council’s exciting and innovative Community Planning initiative – where we empower residents to create, own and deliver their aspirations for their communities.”
Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP said: “I am pleased to support the Town Council working in partnership with Compass Support in piloting this innovative, community led approach. I have always believed that local people are the best placed to bring real change for the good in their area, but they need the powers to do so.
“The Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council has now established itself as the largest Town Council in Britain and is starting to exercise real power and influence for the benefit of everyone who lives in our Royal Town. Falcon Lodge has come a very long way since I first became the Member of Parliament for Sutton Coldfield and as the Royal Town Council seeks to take over a number of local services and activities, the Town Council will be best placed to make the key decisions to further community cohesion and local prosperity.”
Summing up the deliberations of the afternoon Ifor Jones, Director at Compass Support, highlighted “the need for better communications with residents, environmental improvements and enhancements such as the Town Council’s In Bloom initiative, better use of and improvements of existing facilities including Falcon Lodge Community Centre, closer working between agencies and recognition citywide of the investment needs of the Falcon Lodge estate”.
All attendees asked felt that the afternoon had been a success, with the following comments:
“Well-structured and productive conversations”
“Fantastic to see the ideas large & small for projects that can make such a positive long-term impact on Falcon Lodge”
“Fantastic opportunity to meet with other agencies & organisations with the agreed focus of improving opportunities and outcomes for families on the Falcon Lodge estate”