Community Engagement ~ Our Approach
You’.re an orchard project - why do you put so much value on engagement?
'South Devon AONB Community Project Officer Nicky Bailey described how:
‘The fruit isn’t the apple, the fruit is the space and the place for people to come together and make that connection with each other and with nature, and I think in recent times that’s been even more important'. Without people involved, you have a space and trees, but not a true Community Orchard.
What is ‘Community Engagement’?
Community engagement is the process of involving people in the decisions that affect them. Engagement is considered to be ‘the process by which government, organisations, communities and individuals connect in the development and implementation of decisions that affect them’.
We aim to:
Create a quality process and environment for engagement.
We do this by:
Being genuine – respecting the community's right and ability to participate.
Building relationships – good engagement is built on the strength of relationships we have with stakeholders
Being transparent – being open and having no hidden agendas
Supporting diversity - welcoming and supporting diversity
Developing a dynamic management system – creating an engagement plan for each project which is researched and documented, and outlines what will be done and when. The plan should be shared, discussed, updated and altered if necessary.
We strive to:
Know the stakeholders – seek to understand their stake, influence, synergies and constraints.
Be responsive – customer service and ability to be agile
Be clear about the background – seek to know the history and context of the engagement project, including where there might be conflict.
Develop capability – be approachable, knowledgeable, and open and seek to further develop our skills.
Be purposeful – ascertain, express and be open about the ability stakeholders have to influence the potential outcomes
Ask ourselves - will something observable happen because of the process? Will it be implemented and the process celebrated?