Friday, 15 November 2019

Local Community Engagement, Part 6

[Update: Part 7 on coastal inundation scenarios adds some parameters in the debate.]

Part 1 introduced this project to engage local residents in villages north of Cambridge UK. Part 2 elaborated on some resources available and communication via Story Maps. Part 3 looked at three more resources, introduced an open call and closed with an Elevator Pitch. Part 4 looked at community engagement's key differentiator, to search for local info your way, not the search engines'. Let's round this off with our own gazetteer, and then touch on issues around sea level rise maps. And Part 5 introduced our own Wikipedia Gazetteer map - jointly with Terry's Wikipedia savvy and Adrew's mapping skills - to complete our infrastructure guide of "What is in Cambridgeshire?".

In the process of looking at our environment and current climate challenges, we met Leslie Sklair an economist at London School of Economics, who helped us focus on our audience and the status of village life in the context of our County in particular and East Anglia in general. Here is what a Press Release would look like, to introduce our social enterprise. Such writing helps focus the mind, doesn't it?

Cottenham, Cambridge,  [date]

Digital nomads returning to villages from city centres as work forces get decentralised, transform Silicon Fen Edge Villages into producer-consumer co-operatives. Did you know that Cambridgeshire included no less than 270 villages? While "wifi not spots" and "high street store closures" make the headlines, little is said about rural isolation from the closure of post offices, bank branches, libraries, bus lines etc.

Cottenham.info will help combat loneliness and a sense of isolation amongst elderly residents not yet familiar with online communications and the local/ global reach it inspires.  At the other end of the age scale it will encourage millennials and digital natives in the community to introduce their contemporary skills to older generations who, in return, can pass on traditional skills, crafts and know-how to younger generations. It will encourage older residents to recount their stories with illustrations from the past and younger residents to record local history in the making. It will form alliances to drive co-production initiatives in local communities: Time Credits will be awarded to younger generations giving their time to help older ones step onto the digital ladder. They will be able to spend these on activities for their own health and well-being at sports centres for example, and for sponsored leisure-time activities such as local cinema and football matches.

Club55 in Girton is a stellar example of seniors engagement through a computer club, lunches, movies and special events. South Cambs. 2016 Village Hero Sam Clift has run the Girton Computer Club coming on ten years, and has garnered the help from the local council providing free space and wifi at St Vincent's Close. Then Minister for Digital and Culture (now Secretary of State for Health and Social Care) and neighbouring West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock visited the club as part of a national 2016 Get Online week. He quipped:
"It was fantastic to meet such an enthusiastic and engaged group and see firsthand how the internet can benefit their lives" 
(Cambridge Evening News, Tuesday 18 October 2016).


click to enlarge
Cottenham.info  proposes to address this question: "How to foster local business and community engagement, by providing open access to local geographic and environmental data that are time stamped?" Working with Cottenham Parish Council (CPC) subgroups into Wellbeing initiatives like in neighbouring Histon-Impington, and talking to others in surrounding Councils, the aim is to provide a framework for rational decision-making, to foster inter-agency cooperation that promote the well-being for local residents. This initiative is based on newly available open data that help map out the infrastructure so that visitors can find businesses and facilities on one hand, and on the other hand, so that local businesses can promote their location and offering.

No comments:

Post a Comment