Kirklees Council and the New Citizenship Project are working with citizens to understand how we can all work together to make our local places better.
Everything starts with citizens
In 2019, we worked with citizens in the Ashbrow ward of Huddersfield and the Fieldhead neighbourhood of Birstall. We shared our stories about what makes us proud of where we live, and we explored what our stories have in common.
We talked about how we can all work together to make our local places better Together we created five ‘building blocks’ for what would be needed to make this happen:
- I care, we care: Create a place where everyone can trust each other
- Human connection: Put relationships first. Relating to real people, rather than a machine without a face.
- Everyone can contribute: Make sure everyone means everyone. All ages, from every background.
- The spaces to flourish: Give communities the buildings and green spaces to work together.
- Celebrate the journey: Make people feel the hard work is worth it, and make it fun too!
You can find out more about what we did on our Democracy blog:
Since then, we’ve been using these common themes to guide us on our journey. We’re shifting Kirklees Council from being purely a provider of services, to being an enabler of all citizens to make their places better. It’s about how we all do local democracy together, and this is one of the big changes inspired by citizens who participated in the Kirklees Democracy Commission.
Measuring what matters
As part of this ongoing work, Kirklees Council have been considering how we measure success as an organisation. We believe it’s important that our goals are shared by local people, and aren’t just created by us alone. That’s why we’re continuing to work with and alongside citizens and local organisations, with the support of New Citizenship Project. Together our participants have created a new shared goal – or ‘outcome’ – which we’ll measure our success against.
The ‘Shaped by People’ shared goal is a new way of measuring something that really matters, in local people’s own words. It will help us understand whether people feel able to influence and improve things where they live.
What we’re working towards
This all starts with listening to each other’s stories. It’s taken some time, but by hearing more and more stories of people working together to make local places better, we’re starting to understand what it would look like if we all shared the same goal. A goal that is shaped by local people.
We’re continuing to listen – working with local groups to ensure that this goal can be truly shared by everyone. We’re currently working with local groups and organisations to create tools for measuring our progress, including a conversation starter kit.
Shaped by People became a new shared outcome for Kirklees Council and our partners in October 2021. But it won’t be something that only we’re doing. Our stories have shown that it’s not just the council who want to see people working together to make places better – this is about all of us.
What happens next?
This site is inspired by the stories that we’ve heard so far – brilliant stories about lots of different things that people have been doing in our communities.
Over time, we’d love for this site to grow – becoming a place for more people to share their stories, and documenting our collective journey towards achieving our shared goal.
This is a new way of working for us, and it’s just the beginning. We want to be better at standing side by side with people in our communities and places. To learn how we can all feel inspired and enabled to make our local places better, together.