Unified communities are not new. Since the dawn of time, communities be they tribal, small townships or villages have drawn together, to address the challenges of the day.
Just after the Second World War, ‘Community Councils’ were often created to bring together resources to address economic hardship and the local needs of a traumatised nation. Such councils, while much diminished, still exist. There are at least two in Suffolk, one quite close in Walsham Les Willows (https://www.walsham-le-willows.org). In more recent years, local and county authorities have proposed greater community empowerment in responding to challenges and opportunities.
In 2019 on the eve of the first COVID lockdown, the forerunner of Coddenham Community Response Group was created, to work together, to best co-ordinate resources and capacity, to meet the needs of the Parish.
Late last year, we looked at what the Coddenham Centre, Community Shop, the Day Foundation, the Gardemau Trusts and St Mary’s Church, along with the History Club and Country Club had significantly achieved in the face of eighteen months of adversity. All decided it would be good to try and assess proactively, what the future held and plan with the community accordingly. We started work on examining the estimated Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT), the Parish might face.
This year, we are much re-enforced by a refreshed Parish Council who re-joined the CCRG and are now helping to accelerate several exciting initiatives.
Work has specifically been going on around a Parish Community Survey to validate the SWOT analysis and gather anything we have missed and to shape a Parish Community Plan. We are grateful to the Day Foundation who have offered to fund the exercise and while all members have contributed since the onset, we have also appreciated the recent support of new Councillor Nick Mills and colleagues, who have helped the design. Since last year, we felt it important a Parish Council should be ‘onboard’ for such an exercise.
More details will follow, but as it’s over 20 years since the last survey, we hope every household will give 15/20 minutes of their time this summer, to help all your local resources working together, to plan how best to work for the future.
The challenges we face today as a community, may look different from primeval or even medieval times, but some are fundamentally not far from them. The emerging modern economic and environmental pressures are becoming painfully apparent.
Come along to the Annual Parish’ Meeting on the 5th May, at 7.30pm where the CCRG will join the Parish Council hosts, in providing more information and to take questions on advancing a vibrant community; truly unified in addressing and shaping it’s future.
Acting Chair – The Coddenham Community Response Group
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First published in the Ten Village News May 2022