Last week, another foundation stone was laid in Imagine Anfield Flourishing, a people plan project. The first 20 residents on the scheme received their Appreciative Inquiry course certificates, alongside the launch of theABCC (Anfield Breckfield Community Corner) digital inclusion project.
Residents received their AI course certificates having successfully completed a three day training course, and are undertaking a leadership and facilitating role in the design and delivery of every aspect of this groundbreaking project.
The belief behind the Imagine Anfield project is that for economically and socially disadvantaged communities to flourish economically, the strengths and skills have to come from within the existing individuals and communities in those neighbourhoods. External agencies work with community groups to provide support and professional advice, in a similar approach to NGOs in developing countries.
The project’s primary focus is to encourage both flourishing people and neighbourhoods to create a ‘people plan’, moving away from the traditional regeneration focus on buildings, space and external problem solving. In some ways the Imagine Anfield ‘people plan’ is the antidote to the locally-perceived combination of consultation fatigue and deficit-based solutions (which focus on problems, weaknesses and obstacles, rather than strengths and opportunities). Central to the process has been the identification and promotion of the existing strengths of local people and to build on ‘what is already working and can be built upon’.
So far, the process is providing key learnings for community planning approaches – especially in training local people to be facilitators and jointly-plan the project. We’re seeing people growing in confidence, ideas and projects appearing and openness and equality in designing and creating the planning process. In fact, signs so far have been so promising, early indications suggest we could be on to the holy grail of community sustainability in Anfield!
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