Wye with Hinxhill Parish Council

Working for Wye - past, present and future

Clerk: Debbie Baines
Parish Council Office, Unit 2B
Briar Close, Bramble Lane
Wye, Ashford, Kent TN25 5HB

Tel: 01233 812459

Our Place Wye - starting point

Wye Summer Fete, Churchfield Green

Global, national and local views

World Bank (Social Capital Initiative) said:

"Social capital is the glue that holds societies together and without which there can be no economic growth or human well-being"

Dr Veronique Siegler (Social Capital Project Leader, ONS) said:

"In general terms, social capital represents social connections and all the benefits they generate. High social capital means a "happy society", where people are connected, tolerant, help each other and spend time for the "common good". They have trust in others and in institutions, and are empowered to shape the society they live in. This has positive impacts on a range of areas, such as personal well-being, health, employment or crime."

A Wye resident (Luckley House) said:

"Wye has a very strong community spirit and it is a friendly place to live. We look out for our neighbours and want that to continue"

Cllr. Noel Ovenden (Ward Member for Wye, Ashford Borough Council) said:

"The Wye Neighbourhood Plan is looking ahead to 2030, and it seeks to make the village a more age-friendly place to live in the future, but an increasing number of us face health and care challenges now"

Our Place Wye - an asset-based approach

Wye is blessed with over sixty community groups, and many active, motivated and skilled individuals who are already supporting the health and wellbeing of neighbours. Consequently, Our Place Wye starts from a strong position, and the projects outlined here aim to reinforce existing community activities and networks, and add depth and resilience.

Wye has an abundance of community assets, and is therefore well placed to achieve change and find different ways to meet increasing demands for services. Our Place Wye is an opportunity to pull resources together and apply a positive, asset-based approach to community development. (ABCD in outline - video).

"Mounting evidence shows that when practitioners begin with what communities have – their assets – as opposed to what they don't have - their needs - a community's ability to address those needs increases. So too does its capacity to lever in external assistance." Introduction to "A glass half-full - how an asset approach can improve community health and wellbeing.

Foot, J. Hopkins, T. (2010) IDeA Local Government Association

Assets are the raw material for asset-based community development (ABCD). These include:

  • Residents' skills, knowledge, personal networks
  • Local community groups, as networks and social resources
  • The resources of public, private and charitable institutions
  • The physical and economic resources of local places.

A glass half-full

  • A glass half-full - how an asset approach can improve community health and wellbeing (PDF, 578 Kb)

    "...Flourishing communities are those where everyone has someone to talk to, neighbours look out for each other, people have pride and satisfaction with where they live and feel able to influence decisions about their area. Residents are able to access green and open space, feel safe going out and there are places and opportunities that bring people together.

    "A good place to start is looking at where communities are already flourishing. For too long we have concentrated on the deficits and problems within communities and it is time for a different approach. Assessing and building the strengths of individuals and the assets of a community opens the door to new ways of thinking about and improving health and of responding to ill-health. It has the potential to change the way practitioners engage with individuals and the way planners design places and services. It is an opportunity for real dialogue between local people and practitioners on the basis of each having something to offer. It can mobilise social capacity and action and more meaningful and appropriate services..."

    Dr Ruth Hussey, OBE

    Regional Director of Public Health / Senior Medical Director for NHS North West and DH North West

Alison Seabrooke (Chief Executive, Community Development Foundation) said:

"…Often these activities complement statutory services because community groups have the flexibility to meet specific needs and they can work holistically with groups of people or whole communities. Community groups move in to fill the gaps which others would struggle to reach – they trade on trust, build their activities from first-hand experiences and maximise the local knowledge and connections available at their fingertips…"

Extract from Tailor-made: How community groups improve people's lives. Community Development Foundation (CDF), October 2014

Our Place Wye - origins

The Our Place Wye project has its origins in the Wye 2030 Neighbourhood Plan, and related public consultations. Wye with Hinxhill Parish Council is leading both projects, with support from volunteers, partner organisations, Planning Aid and other specialist advisers.

The Neighbourhood Plan is built on a comprehensive household survey, completed in summer 2012. Thanks to the diligence of 54 volunteer patchworkers, the survey generated a 76% return rate, and yielded over 10,400 pages of data.

In 2013 the Parish Council appointed Dave Martin as a parish volunteer with a remit to follow up in more depth, some of the issues identified in the household survey. During 2013 Dave Martin interviewed 131 Wye residents. These interviews confirmed the scale and pace of the social and economic changes that are affecting Wye, and their impact on residents. The results prompted the Parish Council to balance the Neighbourhood Plan, and its emphasis on spatial and infrastructure issues, with parallel initiatives to reinforce social capital, community cohesion, health and wellbeing. Hence the outline of Our Place Wye began to form.

Our Place Wye - drivers

What drives the Our Place Wye programme?

In summary, Wye residents expressed an overwhelming desire that the parish continues to function as an active, cohesive and mutually supportive community of place. This gave the Parish Council a clear mandate to act.

The Our Place Wye Business Plan sets out how to achieve this aim with a programme of eight discrete projects. These consist of three core project areas, five 'stepping stone' projects, and an over-arching independent monitoring and evaluation project. The ninth project concerns monitoring and evaluation of the other eight, and will be necessary to inform project management decisions and to drive improvements.

The first core project started in April 2015, in partnership with Kent County Council. Subject to funding, the two other core projects will also start later in 2015. These will deliver cumulative benefits for residents as the Our Place Wye programme gains momentum over the next four years.