In June 2015 the community of Cumnock, in partnership with East Ayrshire Council’s Vibrant Communities team and Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland, started on a journey to develop a community led action plan.
The development of this plan has brought together an amazing group of dedicated people who have become the ‘Cumnock Steering Group’. Their role has been to engage and capture people’s ideas and also to develop an understanding of the needs of the community through an extensive consultation process. The group collected and analysed almost 2,000 comments, which came from individuals of all ages, local businesses, voluntary organisations and services all of whom work in, live in or visit Cumnock. The comments and were themed and what followed was a two day voting event, which allowed for the community to vote on what they felt were the main priorities for action
Step One: ‘Hearing the voices and stories of the community’
This is where the journey began. The Steering group spoke with many stakeholders across the community, including some early morning pop-up conversations at local primary schools, well ‘the early bird catches the worm’ as the saying goes. The pop-up conversations with the use of post-it notes were a great way of capturing people’s thoughts and ideas. Local schools were excellent support for the plan and encouraged the kids to get involved. The steering group run an art competition based on what young people liked and didn’t like in the area.
Step Two: ‘Community Open Day’
The community open day was an event which allowed the community to see the responses from the consultations and to vote on their priorities. The two day event was held in the Dumfries Arms Hotel and attracted over 400 local people, keen to see what the outcomes from the surveys were. It was great to see local groups, volunteers and local schools get involved in the events and to provide some top class entertainment.
Step Three: ‘The Action Plan Launch’
Following a year of extensive community engagement, the launch of the action plan for Cumnock happened on 8 th June 2016. The launch event attracted 186 people, and also played host to the three local schools who displayed some amazing musical talents. A total of 66 commitments of support were pledged to each of the themes, which has given a huge boost to the steering group as they now begin to plan its implementation
Step Four: ‘We’re Ready For Action!’
The steering group realise the opportunities that exist in quick wins. One of the priorities is about town centre appearance and so a few litter picks have been planned over the forthcoming months. The steering group will encourage other voluntary groups and individuals to get involved to take action on the priorities as a whole community.