On Monday 29th April, Black South West Network held its third Voluntary and Community Sector Network meeting to explore the themes of the One City Plan and opportunities for the community to engage with its delivery. With approximately 50 people in the room, attendance vastly increased from the previous encounter, proving that the initiative has sparked big interest and met the desires of numerous VCS representatives in the city.
Opened by its Independent Chair, Jendayi Serwah, the Network meeting included a brief introduction by our Director Sado Jirde; offering context around the origin of the Network and the research that underpinned its creation, and a brief key-note speech by the Deputy Mayor Asher Craig, who highlighted the resilient nature of the BAME Sector and the potential it has to influence the One City Plan.
James Snelgroveand Andrea Dellfrom the Bristol City Office then proceeded to introduce the main characteristics of the One City Plan. The officers encouraged the audience to take part in the “work in progress” that the Plan is, by giving their feedback on the content and constantly feeding into it.
As usual, the Network meeting concluded with an interactive activity to allow the attendees to discuss and process the information in smaller groups, and then to capture main points to feed back into the wider audience.
The discussion was focused on the following questions:
1) How do you think you can engage with the One City Plan?
2) What are the opportunities for communities?
3) What would help everybody to engage?
The main points included, but were not limited, to the ones below:
Paid Community Consultants or intermediary figures to ensure constant and effective communication between the community and the City Office.
More support for start-ups and young people as well as ensuring that young people from BAME communities are always part of the conversation when developing the Plan.
Levelling the playing field: tackling institutional racism with diverse apprenticeships, diverse leadership and diverse mentors.
Active listening from the City Office to the community representatives.
Practical engagement with the community e.g. focus groups.
Co-production of the One City Plan and making it relevant to the personal issues of the community.
Accessible language and information.