FOLLOWING the presentations from three neighbourhoods, the session split into three groups to carry out a version of the exercise already undertaken in Hangleton and Knoll the previous evening and reported in the first newsletter. In this case however, the starting point was a scenario given by the organisers and presented as a number of bullet points:

Your Neighbourhood today

  • Long established community association
  • Friendly people
  • Mix of interests and ages
  • Priority area for regeneration

But under the surface

  • Single parents and elderly are isolated
  • Local shops and businesses are struggling
  • Few opportunities for young people
  • Difficult to get official information
  • Community association cliquey
  • Groups bewildered by regeneration plans

Your neighbourhood tomorrow

You would like to see:

  • More people confident and involved
  • Projects relevant to problems
  • Local groups more effective
  • Real partnerships with the council
  • More local enterprise

Groups were also asked to fill in a model - illustrated in issues 1 of Neighbourhoods Online) of the way they felt that the area worked at present and to fill out the basic scenario

HAVING filled out a picture of the area at present, the meeting  now looked at a selection of possible projects that might improve things. The following projects were presented on cards:

  • Community News Online
  • Community Resource Centre
  • Online Learning
  • Local History Online
  • Information Gateway
  • Local E-Commerce
  • Community Conferencing
  • E-Democracy
  • Activists Online
  • Local Arts Project
  • E-Mail for All
  • Community Participation

Each group selected projects within  a given budget. This resulted in al lively discussion on the relative merits of each project and how they might link together.

Groups were asked to prepare a flip chart presentation of their proposals and to appoint a spokes-person to present it. Despite the difficult acoustics of the Corn Exchange, these presentations were received with applause from the rest of the audience.

Priorities

Without going into the detail of the various presentations, the following projects were central to all of them:

  • Activists Online
  • Community News Online
  • Community Participation
  • Local E-Commerce

In general the points made by the groups stressed:

  • Partnership with the Council and with other agencies and groups
  • The development of local skills and confidence
  • The role of the Council in generating key services that might be able to
  • respond to more local online access
  • Local involvement in key decisions
  • Developing a local response to global issues and pressures
  • Improving the performance of and access to the local economy.

There seemed to be a real enthusiasm to take these ideas forward in the real world and to use Brighton and Hove as a test bed for this way of working.

The Community Channel ‚ which sponsored the event ‚ has offered to work with Sussex Community Internet Project and others on several fronts:

First, to support 'local champions' who are developing their Neighbourhoods Online.

Second, to run a follow through seminar about Community Internet with policymakers.

Thirdly to work with the Voluntary Sector Forum to develop online discussion on policy.

Peter Mason, of SCIP, reports back on group discussion.

Contacts

Community Channel

David Wilcox david@communities.org.uk. Tel: 01273 677377.
http://www.communitychannel.org.uk

Sussex Community Internet Project

Peter Mason
info@scip.org.uk.
Tel: 01273 234049
http://www.scip.org.uk