How to make the ‘Big Society’ work

THE “Big Society” arrived at the Elsie Whiteley Innovation Centre with a presentation on the Locality’s Community Organisers programme.

Councillors and community officials from across West Yorkshire attended and met Director of Locality Jess Steele.

She spoke about community engagement and how local authorities can utilise the programme to become more effective deliverers of public services.

The programme was created by the Government’s Office for Civil Society to encourage and enable people to play a more active part in society.

It aims to build and strengthen communities so they have the skills, knowledge and confidence to tackle local issues themselves.

The programme involves recruiting and training 5,000 community organisers over its four year lifetime.

They will work with local communities to spot opportunities, support ideas, and identify local leaders to act on issues.

Councillor Tim Swift, (Lab, Town Ward) said: “It has been really good to get a dedicated briefing at this level.”

Barbara Harbinson, Chief Executive of Halifax Opportunities Trust, which organised the event, said it was an informative meeting which attracted a varied cross section of delegates from across the north.

“I think it highlights how important this programme is going to be and the shape of things to come in terms of community engagement,” she said.

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