Citizen Power Peterborough emerged in response to two factors. The first was that Citizenship and Place Surveys from 2009–10 showed levels of civic participation in Peterborough to be below the national average with key generators of 'citizen power' like attachment to place, social trust and respect for other people, all lower than the average unitary authority in England. The second factor was a widespread belief, that increasing civic engagement was an essential part of reforming public services to better respond to local needs.
Citizen Power Peterborough was developed by the RSA in partnership with Peterborough City Council and Arts Council England. It was realised through the following projects that took place across the city.
Sustainable Citizenship: explored how very local communities can help solve environmental problems
Recovery Capital: helped tackle problematic drug and alcohol use by creating new approaches to the support necessary for recovery
Peterborough Curriculum: connected young people with what they learn in school to the place where they live
Civic Commons: created spaces for political and social debate, discussion and local activism
Arts and Social Change: strengthened networks and deepened attachment through participating in the arts
ChangeMakers: mapped local community leaders and connected them unlocking their shared skills and assets
Innovation Forum: forged a new public service culture within senior management through cooperation and creative practices
The programme made a difference to many citizens in Peterborough. Nearly 1,500 took part, some felt a renewed sense that they could make a difference within their communities themselves or discovered that they wanted to. Many of the groups we worked with embraced engagement opportunities and gained in confidence. A sense of pride in the city was also strengthened. Citizen Power Peterborough gives other 'citizen power engineers' practical insights in how to galvanise and mobilise local people to benefit their own communities.
This RSA project is working in partnership with Peterborough Council & Arts Council England.