Wittersham VOICES, as the Community Led Plan Steering Committee is called, was set up under the auspices of the Parish Council in October 2012.. Since then it has produced a Shop questionnaire in 2013 which resulted in a splendid response and which is being used actively as the Shop Project is apparently to a successful conclusion. It has also carried out a General Survey covering a wide range of subjects which affect Parish and Village life towards the end of 2013 and the results have been collated. The responses to the questions posed in the Survey together with the comments made by individuals are now available to be discussed in greater depth.
In order to ensure that the conclusions drawn from the Survey are broadly the views of the Community as a whole it has been decided to set up 5 Discussion Groups named in the Annex. These Groups will be asked to discuss the issues they are allocated over the next 6 months or so and provide the VOICES Committee with their views which will be taken forward into the final Community Led Plan which, it is hoped, will be available at least in draft from by the end of 2014.
To produce the broad Community view on a number of aspects of Parish Life, as advised by the VOICES Steering Committee, using the evidence collected from the General Survey as the basis for reaching conclusions.
COMPOSITION OF GROUPS
Volunteers have been sought to participate in this crucial stage of the project. It is vital that Members of the Groups see themselves as representing Wittersham residents and are able to be objective in their approach.
Each Group will consist of as many volunteers as the Group feels it needs. At the outset names will have been suggested by VOICES following an extensive recruitment campaign, but should a Group wish to expand and/or extend its internal competency by asking others to join, this is to be welcomed.
It is expected that at the first meeting of each Group, a leader or Chairperson will be mutually agreed and this person will be the focal point for communication with the VOICES team to whom the Group is responsible.
Each Group will have a member of the VOICES Steering Committee in attendance as required, not to influence the Group in any way, but to provide guidance should it be sought.
Each Discussion Group will be autonomous in the way it wishes to operate and how often it wishes to meet, but it will be expected to feed its deliberations to the VOICES Chairman at regular intervals. It is suggested that a meeting about once a month for 6 months might be the way forward, but this depends on the Group itself as it aims to produce its ideas and vision for the future.
The questions emanating from the General Survey will be allocated to the relevant Group(s) and the Survey responses and all pertinent comments will be made available. If a Group feels it needs to widen its purview across more questions than has been suggested, it is perfectly at liberty to do so. There are no restrictions on what should be discussed, but clearly in the time available the more focussed the discussion areas the more the likelihood that the proposals will be succinct and practical.
The conclusions of each Group can be in whatever form thought best within that Group. As examples it could be presented as a narrative report, a set of proposals under various headings or a bullet type identification of the main thrust of the discussion.
During the discussion phase it is not envisaged that any minute taking will be required. No detailed investigations are necessary unless the Group wishes to undertake them. No solutions are required to be found – again, unless the Group is able to do so without burdening any individual.
What is being sought is a set of ideas, practical proposals and sensible way forward for the Wittersham Community to put forward as their vision of the future for the Parish and the Village. This exercise is not meant to be chore in any sense of the word – it is to be enjoyed and enthused over as a positive way of ensuring that Wittersham remains a sustainable and pleasant place to live.
LIST OF DISCUSSION GROUPS
The topics listed under each Group are not exclusive or exhaustive. Relevant subjects to be included are entirely at the discretion of the Group.
- COMMUNICATION. Broadband, telephones ( landline and mobile), television coverage, the Parish “grapevine”, Parish and Church websites, Parish notice boards, Outlook on Oxney
- ROAD SAFETY, TRANSPORT AND EMERGENCY RESPONSE. Speed limits, pedestrian crossings, pavements and hedges, street lighting, bus services, volunteer transport, arrangements for the emergency committee.
- NEIGHBOURHOOD CARE. Medical services, care for the elderly, care for young children and mothers/fathers, nursery facilities, volunteer small job organisation.
- ENVIRONMENT AND HOUSING. Recycling, renewable energy (including wind turbines, solar panels, fracking and biomass), rubbish collections, street cleanliness, housing requirements for both young and elderly, conservation issues, planning issues.
- AMENITIES (including SOCIAL, RECREATION AND SPORT, AND EDUCATION). Sports facilities, range of sports available for young people and adults, computer and modern technology courses, use of the Village Hall, societies.
Findings of the Groups: