A ‘call to action’ to help address social inequality and deprivation in a ward in the borough has seen community leaders and residents come together.
The Cowley Hill Ward Community Summit, the first initiative of its kind to be held in Hertsmere, was held on Wednesday (15 July) as a virtual event organised by us in conjunction with independent community consultants. Around 40 delegates including residents, councillors, statutory partners, service providers, community/voluntary sector organisations and members of the community attended the four-hour workshop held via Zoom. They discussed their key priorities for Cowley Hill over the next 12 months and agreed practical steps which could be taken to improve the ward for all.
The workshop was set up after the Leeming Road neighbourhood in the ward was ranked among the 10 per cent most deprived areas in the country in the Indices of Multiple Deprivation released last year. Before parting delegates were asked to make an individual or organisational pledge describing how they would take forward the day’s actions.
Councillor Meenal Sachdev, Portfolio Holder for Community and Economic Development said: “I was uplifted and inspired by the energy and determination exhibited by those who attended our Community Summit.
“For us, as a borough, we’ve never held an event quite like this before and it was a leap of faith to see how delegates would respond to the ideas and issues under discussion.
“The challenges and barriers which have led to the particular level of deprivation and social inequality in the Leeming Road neighbourhood are complex and far-reaching.
“This is just the start of a very long journey. However, working with members of the community and our partners in the police, Hertfordshire County Council, housing associations and voluntary sector, we feel we've taken the first steps towards developing a shared approach on a way forward which everyone can agree upon and participate in.
“Thank you again to everyone who attended and particularly those who organised the workshop.”
Community and Engagement Regenerations Consultants Ltd were appointed by the council to conduct research into the ward after the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government released its IMD 2019 data in September.
The data ranks small areas of the country, known as lower-layer super output areas, according to their level of deprivation, relative to that of other areas. It is based on 39 separate indictors, comprised of seven domains: income; employment; health deprivation and disability; education, skills and training; crime; barriers to housing and services and living environment.
As part of their research, Community Engagement and Regenerations Consultants Ltd asked residents and stakeholders for their views on the area and identified priorities for the future. This research was presented at the workshop and will form part of a final report, which is due to be published later this year.
Posted on Friday 17th July 2020