There is a profound need to address what is called a ‘Vision Gap’: the local authority, the Vale of Glamorgan Council, does a good job on services but fails in its strategic vision for regeneration. This is coupled with a local culture shaped by once-too-often unfulfilled promises, creating a fatalist, learned helplessness.
Yet, there are seeds of transformation; organisations such as @BarryIsland and also Pride in Barry are working to engage with local people and raise expectations. The latter is just a voluntary group of 20 people, with no formal structure to seek grants and develop projects - although it is still a valuable signposting body to connect with others in the community.
There are also many good ideas, people, and latent energy within the community to create a better future for Barry. The Ideas Bank will get people to recognise they can make a difference to transform their area.
The IdeasBank@BarryIsland is a series of local meetings which hope to:
Promote positive examples of local community role models
Provide a dynamic resource for nurturing and developing ideas
Create new contacts
The project will harness the existing positives, create new narratives, and facilitate new partnerships within the local community.
It will also generate content to display on online platforms for ‘Your Vision’, ‘Your Ideas (with sub categories for ‘Celebrating famous Barry people and Barry's history’, ‘Improving our places and spaces’, ‘Events and things to do’, and ‘Improving Tourism and regeneration’).
An evaluation framework created for the project will be used to assess the feasibility and potential next steps of ideas submitted, activists’ engagement, and ideas passed on to realisation.
The Barry Ideas Bank will collect all new ideas for regeneration of Barry and stimulate activity to work towards making those ideas into reality. Some funders and the council will be approached prior to the workshops to establish what they might look to fund.
Using open source software, the ideas generated and process itself will be recorded and therefore have potential to be a community engagement model for adoption and use anywhere in the World.
Andy Green is proposing to repeat the idea later in the year in Wakefield, West Yorkshire where has a number of businesses.