Engaging with your local community can broaden the support you give to and receive from others. You may, for example, wish to find volunteers from your local community or get their ideas about how your church building could be better used.
Engaging with other partner organisations in Cumbria will help your church to become part of wider plans and strategies to improve Cumbria.
The Church of England has produced a useful guide to the benefits of partnership working.
• When engaging with your community, consider whether you might need additional help and/or finance.
• Consider having ‘community engagement' as a recurring meeting agenda item and/or make it the responsibility of someone on your team.
• Try to have as much personal contact with your community as possible and keep an up-to-date database of contacts.
• How will you engage with your community? provides some ideas. There are a number of different ways and you may wish to use a couple of consultation methods in order to attract as many responses as possible. If you decide to send questionnaires, see examples of questionnaires.
On the left hand menu you can find various partners in Cumbria and information on how they work including:
• Community/Parish Plans - These are written by the community and sets out what it needs and wants in the area now and in the future and this feeds into the council's strategies. Contact ACT (Action with Communities in Cumbria) to find out if your area has one or is currently creating one. Getting involved in the community plan is a good way of finding out what people and want and telling them about what your church building can offer.
• Neighbourhood Development Officer/Community Involvement Worker - They may know what opportunities are taking place locally and/or of any groups that might need a venue (perhaps in your church). Support officers organise local forums, find yours here.
• The Diocese of Hereford's Crossing the Threshold Toolkit
• Heritage Lottery Fund, Thinking about Community Participation, 2009
• Nick Wates, The Community Planning Event Manual, Earthscan publishing, 2008