Walkabouts and workshops in Kettering, Corby and Wellingborough to boost 'left behind' estates

The community action take place over three weekends starting tomorrow

Friday, 26th November 2021, 5:29 pm

Residents living in some of North Northamptonshire's 'left behind' neighbourhoods have been invited to join in a series of community workshops and walkabouts to help councillors address their problems.

North Northamptonshire Council's (NNC) scrutiny commission highlighted Avondale (Windmill Ward) in Kettering, Kingswood and Hazel Leys in Corby and Queensway in Wellingborough as areas of the county which require attention.

Starting tomorrow (Saturday, November 27), there will be a community-based walk in each of these areas followed by a workshop led by community leaders and councillors to discuss the work that needs to be done to bring the communities back to life.

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Avondale in Kettering , Kingswood and Hazel Leys in Corby and Queensway in Wellingborough

Chair of the NNC scrutiny committee Cllr Zoe McGhee (Lab) said: "It's really a chance for people who live in these so called 'left behind' areas to have their say about what happens in their area.

"It's like a consultation but more informal. I'm trying to pool resources. We want to know what people want from the police, volunteer organisations and public health when we form the levelling up agenda.

"It's crucial that people tell us what they want so we can have some credibility. I want to see what they want - maybe a redesign of an area. The priority needs to be getting into the community.

"I feel what we learn here will give the levelling up agenda in north Northants the credibility to pursue much needed positive changes, knowing the weight of the community is behind us.”

Currently no money has been allocated for a budget for the work but a review will seek to identify any potential funding opportunities that may be available locally, regionally, or nationally to support the 'levelling up' agenda.

'Left behind' neighbourhoods have a lower density of community spaces, cultural, educational, leisure and green assets than other deprived areas and England. The areas are less than half as likely to have a registered charity in their local area than the average across England as a whole.

The areas score low on the Community Needs Index that covers 19 indicators across three domains - civic assets, connectedness and active and engaged community.

Civic assets measures the presence of key community, civic, educational and cultural assets in close proximity of the area. These include pubs, libraries, green space, community centres and swimming pools – facilities that provide things to do often, at no or little cost, which are important to how positive a community feels about its area.

Connectedness measures the connectivity to key services, digital infrastructure, isolation and strength of the local jobs market. It looks at whether residents have access to key services, such as health services, within a reasonable travel distance. It considers how good public transport and digital infrastructure are and how strong the local job market is.

Active and engaged community measures the levels of third sector civic and community activity and barriers to participation and engagement. It shows whether charities are active in the area and whether people appear to be engaged in the broader civic life of their community.

The first walkabouts and workshop event takes place tomorrow (Saturday, November 27) using The Crescents Community Centre in Laburnum Crescent, Kettering NN16 9PH as a base. From 1pm to 3pm there will be a tour of the area followed by a community meeting and workshop from 3.30pm to 5.30pm

In order to comply with Covid-19 rules and regulations, walkabouts and workshops are a ticket only event. Tickets are free.

People wanting to join the walkabout should book their place by clicking here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/avondale-grange-area-tour-registration-213528207617Those wanting to join the workshop should book their place by clicking here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/avondale-grange-world-cafe-registration-216139217217Or alternatively, call 01536 851245 to book a space on either or both of these events.

The Corby Kingswood and Hazel Leys will take place on the following weekend Saturday, December 4, meeting at the Kingswood Neighbourhood Centre. From 1pm to 3pm there will be a tour of the area followed by a community meeting and workshop from 3.30pm to 5.30pm.

People wanting to join the walkabout should book their place by clicking here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/kingswood-hazel-leys-area-tour-registration-213536251677.

Those wanting to join the workshop should book their place by clicking here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/kingswood-hazel-leys-world-cafe-registration-216142677567?aff=erelpanelorg.

Alternatively, people can call 01536 464673 to book a space on either or both of these events.

The following Saturday, December 11, the walkabout and workshop will take place from St Mark's Church, 142 Queensway, Wellingborough NN8 3SD. From 2pm to 3.30 pm there will be a tour of the area followed by a community meeting and workshop from 4pm to 6pm.

People wanting to join the Queensway walkabout should book their place by clicking here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/queensway-area-tour-registration-213538618757.

To register for a place on the Queensway community workshop click here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/queensway-world-cafe-registration-216145154977.

Alternatively, call 07739 611132 to book a space on either or both of these events.

Chair of the scrutiny commission, Cllr Wendy Brackenbury, said: “The levelling up agenda is hugely important to the council and a key focus of the scrutiny commission. This is a fantastic initiative that I look forward to being part of. It is important that all of our communities are safe and pleasant environments for those who live there, and I hope that together we can come up with some key priorities to focus on, so we can make some real improvements in these areas.”

Leader of North Northants Council, Cllr Jason Smithers, said: “Safer communities for our residents is a priority for North Northants Council so I’m pleased to be focusing on these areas and to be able to work with the community and give them an opportunity for their voice to be heard.”