BLACKBURN – Mill Hill & Wensley Fold

The area: Covers two wards – Mill Hill and Wensley Fold – situated close to the town centre and home to diverse communities, businesses, schools and local shops.

Who we are:  Residents have been recruited to work in resident adviser roles to help identify priorities for the neighbourhood. As part of this role, residents have been talking to other residents, collecting information, and feeding this back to local partners and stakeholders.

There are two main organisations involved; Blackburn with Darwen (BwD) Borough Council and BwD Healthy Living, the community organisation (CoReN) who is supporting residents to get involved.  A range of other stakeholders are also linked in, including the local authority neighbourhood waste and housing regeneration teams, and Bethesda Chapel.  Together, residents and these stakeholders have formed a Local Oversight Group, which meets regularly to oversee and implement the neighbourhood resilience programme. 

What we have done: Resident Advisers have been involved in conversations exploring what places and connections people use in their neighbourhood and what issues residents consider are important. This involved street interviews in June 2017 and group conversations in November and December 2017, and March 2018. 

These local enquiries identified:

  • People did not feel involved in the area
  • A feeling that nothing really happened in the area
  • Concerns about the housing and the living environment

 

 Resilience enhancing emerging actions

The Local Oversight Group is taking a holistic approach to improving connections and involvement in the area by bringing together relevant “system” actors – residents and others working in the area. An action plan has been developed that focuses on improving housing and the environment, increasing community relationships and increasing levels of public involvement in decisions about what happens in the area. Some early impacts can be seen:

  • Generated learning and new alliances with the housing regeneration team and the planned regeneration for one of the estates in the neighbourhood. For professionals, this learning is about involving residents in the next phase of consultations and to help shape what happens.
  • Following on from a community clean up linked to Your Community Your Call in 2018, stakeholders and Resident Advisers have explored how they can develop a systems based approach to address littering and fly-tipping. Conversations with the waste team, local Councillor and other stakeholders in the area have prompted two weeks of action #lovebombing where the Galligreaves estate was the focus.  A range of stakeholders from local services and businesses including Keep Blackburn Tidy came together to create visible action and interest in the area. The public health team are now looking at how a citizens’ jury could be set up to support action on environmental issues and the group have also secured £1000 from University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) to re-purpose a rundown area in the neighbourhood.
  • In 2018, residents and stakeholders have worked together to plan and hold a summer street event to get residents connecting with other residents and find out about some of the opportunities available in the area. This has led to funding being secured from the CVS to support the second street event in 2019.
  • The group presented their work on littering to a range of environmental, community and local authority organisations as well as residents from the other areas.  This took place at at a Cleaner Greener Environment learning exchange in March 2019.
  • Resident Advisers have formed a constituted group that will enable them to access funding to support activity in the local area based on needs and interests of the local community.

 

Neighbourhood academic lead: Koser Khan; Email: k.khan4@lancaster.ac.uk