Town and Parish Council Development Work Annual Review

Welcome to the first annual review showcasing the work that has been carried out over the first year of the Town and Parish Council Development project.

cropped-cropped-audience.jpgFirst-ever Cambridgeshire Town and Parish Council Conference
The project was launched in September 2016 and the first Town and Parish Council Conference was held at the Burgess Hall in St Ives on 18 November 2016. The event was well attended by Clerks and Councillors from across the County. The photo below shows Cambridgeshire County Council Chief Executive, Gillian Beasley, addressing attendees and sharing her thoughts on the vital role of town and parish councils.

Parish and Town Council Surveys undertaken to better understand the sector
In March 2017, surveys of the County’s clerks and councillors were undertaken to establish a comprehensive picture of the local council sector. The results have helped inform the direction the Town and Parish Council Development project has taken. The results reports are available to download here.

Social Media established to make two-way communications easier
New media channels – a website, Facebook page and Twitter feed – have been set up to promote the work and to enable clerks and councillors to engage with each other. The website provides access to information and training resources to assist clerks and councillors in their roles and a weekly ‘blog’ post allows us to provide regular updates on our work and also news from partners in the sector.

The website can be found here. Please take a look and click on the ‘Follow’ button to get an alert whenever the website is updated.

You can find out Facebook page here – please give us a ‘like’ – and you can find us on Twitter here – please follow us to get regular soundbites on our work and other matters of interest to the local town and parish council sector.

Peer Learning opportunities offered to share best practice
Reflecting on feedback gained from the Conference on what clerks and councillors would find most useful, we offered three peer learning events.

Clerks and councillors had the opportunity to visit parishes where good examples of council-led activity have taken place. The first three topics covered were Timebanking; Managing and Funding Green Spaces; and Affordable Rural Housing, where we ran a ‘Mythbuster Tour’ to help dispel some of the myths surrounding affordable housing.

Photos from the successful events – attended by 34 clerks and councillors from parish councils across the County – are shown below. We’ll be running more events in the months ahead.

Service Directory outlining support available published
A Directory of the different support services available for town and parish councils has been collated and published. We took the opportunity to bring together the contact details for all the different local and national support organisations, summarising the services they offer, to make it easier for town and parish councils to decide who to approach when they need guidance or assistance.

If you haven’t already seen the Service Directory then you can download a copy here.

Making it easier for communities to find funding
Support Cambridgeshire 4 Community is a free, self-service portal that makes it easier for voluntary and and community organisations and groups to search and apply for grants to undertake community projects. To access the portal, please click here.

About Support Cambridgeshire
Cambridgeshire ACRE, Hunts Forum of Voluntary Organisations and Cambridge Council for Voluntary Services are working together to deliver ‘Support Cambridgeshire’, a three-year project funded by Cambridgeshire County Council to deliver services to community groups and organisations across the County. You can learn more about Support Cambridgeshire – including the dates of events and training sessions it is running – by visiting its website here.

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