Pool-in-Wharfedale Neighbourhood Plan
Consultation and engagement event
BUSINESS AND EMPLOYMENT
26 March 2015 Report
The first of four themed consultation and engagement events with community members for the Neighbourhood Plan (NP) for Pool-in-Wharfedale on ‘Business and Employment’ took place on 26 March 2015 in the Village Hall. Aimed at residents and business people there was an opportunity to discuss, engage and listen to each other through an hour-long World Café round. Community members talked about current things that are good for business and employment in Pool, things that are not so good and what their hopes were for the future. Then, Greg Mulholland, MP, Simon Brereton (Economic Development Programme Leader at Leeds City Council) and Alex McWhirter (CEO of Finance Yorkshire) took to the stage outlining their contribution and possible support for businesses in Pool followed by a Q&A session. The evening concluded with a networking round.
Community members articulated a strong demand for a Pool business network and it looks as if there is a volunteer to take on a lead role in developing this network. So, watch this space!
The next consultation and engagement event will be on Spaces on Sunday, 14th June.
The consultation and engagement event on ‘Business and Employment’ for the NP for Pool- in-Wharfedale took place on Thursday, 26th March 2015 in the Pool Village Memorial Hall on Arthington Lane. The community was invited to take part between 7 and 10 pm. Members of the Steering Group started to set up the hall and displays during the afternoon.
The display for the NP was put up on display boards (three posters from previous event and business and employment related charts from the 2011 Census) along the West side of the Hall, a display from Pool Archives with business and employment related material and a laptop showing a short clip explaining what Neighbourhood Planning is all about (by My Community) framed the display (the clip is also available on the Pool NP website). Six tables with chairs were set up in a C-shape facing the display boards. This layout was chosen as it allowed more people to sit closer to the display boards (rather than using the short side of the Hall).
On arrival community members were greeted and welcomed and informed about the layout of the Hall and that complimentary drinks were available from the kitchen hatch.
As community members arrived they were counted by one of the Steering Group helpers using a clicker and also asked to put a coloured dot on a map of Pool-in-Wharfedale indicating where they lived (Figure 1). The colour of the dot coded whether they were a resident and/or a local business (blue: business; red: resident). If they were both, i.e. a local business and a resident, two dots, one red and one blue were stuck on the map. The idea was to capture the location and type of the attending community members for this event. Altogether 30 community members attended the evening of which eight were also local business owners. Community members were also given a coloured dot (one of three colours) that would allow them to be grouped for the planned activity during the evening. The colours were given out in a cycle, so that each group would have roughly the same number of people.
Figure 1: Photograph of parish map with type-coded dots. One dot represents a community member who attended the event and their indicative home address. Blue: business; red: residents. To avoid overcrowding of dots on the map, the number of attending people at one address was marked on the dot, e.g. ‘2’ on one red dot means two residents at the same address attended the event.
The Steering Group had prepared four displays. One visualised the process of the NP development including planned dates for the different stages; another one introduced the Steering Group members with a picture and their statements about why they joined the group. The third was designed to encourage community members to stay engaged through our dedicated website (www.poolplan.co.uk), Facebook site and through a further four planned engagement and consultation events. The fourth display was based on 2011 census data relating to ‘Business and Employment’: a) distribution of employment sectors of local residents (Figure 2), b) distribution of highest educational level of local residents (Figure 3), c) distribution of economically active and inactive local residents (Figure 4) and d) a population distribution by age and gender (Figure 5).
Figure 2: Pool residents (>16 yrs) work in these employment sectors (Data from the 2011 Census, based on LSOA EE01011570)
Figure 3: Highest educational qualification of Pool residents (>16 yrs); Level 1: 1-4 O Levels/CSE/GCSEs (any grades), Entry Level, Foundation Diploma, NVQ Level 1, Foundation GNVQ, Basic/Essential Skills. Level 2: 5+ O Level (Passes)/CSEs (Grade 1)/GCSEs (Grades A*-C), School Certificate, 1 A Level/ 2-3 AS Levels/VCEs, Intermediate/Higher Diploma, Welsh Baccalaureate Intermediate Diploma, NVQ level 2, Intermediate GNVQ, City and Guilds Craft, BTEC First/General Diploma, RSA Diploma. Level 3: 2+ A Levels/VCEs, 4+ AS Levels, Higher School Certificate, Progression/Advanced Diploma, Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma, NVQ Level 3; Advanced GNVQ, City and Guilds Advanced Craft, ONC, OND, BTEC National, RSA Advanced Diploma. Level 4 and above: Degree (for example BA, BSc), Higher Degree (for example MA, PhD, PGCE), NVQ Level 4-5, HNC, HND, RSA Higher Diploma, BTEC Higher level, Foundation degree (NI), Professional qualifications (for example teaching, nursing, accountancy). Other qualifications: Vocational/Work-related Qualifications, Foreign Qualifications (not stated/level unknown). (Data from the 2011 Census, based on LSOA EE01011570)
Figure 4: Economically active and inactive (=Other) Pool residents (>16 yrs) (Data from the 2011 Census, based on LSOA EE01011570)
Figure 5: Pool residents age profile by gender and local male: female split (Data from the 2011 Census, based on LSOA EE01011570)
Consultation and Engagement
The event was started by a welcome and a brief outline of the evening. Community members were asked to sit down at one of three tables depending on the colour of the dot they had been given as they entered. This was followed by an introduction into the format for the consultation and engagement activity. To help collect the views and opinions of the community members regarding business and employment the format of a World Café was chosen. The World Café is a method for improving large group discussion by borrowing concepts from the informal “café” conversations that people have all the time. In our version the format consisted of two 25-minute-rounds of group discussion at tables, followed by a group synthesis. After the first round, half of the participants stayed at the table to serve as “hosts” of the next round, while the other half travelled to other tables as “ambassadors.” In this sense, participants have a chance to go “around the world” and bring their ideas with them from table to table, encouraging participants to link ideas from one table to the next.
At the beginning of the first round community members were asked to brainstorm for about 5 min on four questions producing at least one idea per question (captured on a post-it):
1. What is currently good in Pool-in-Wharfedale regarding business and employment? (strength)
2. What is currently not so good in Pool-in-Wharfedale regarding business and employment? (weakness)
3. What would be good in Pool-in-Wharfedale regarding business and employment in the future (opportunity)?
4. What could be a threat in Pool-in-Wharfedale regarding business and employment in the future (threat)?
Community members were then asked to stick their post-its onto a flipchart paper that had four quadrants drawn onto it relating to the four questions. Each table was hosted by a member of the Steering Group who facilitated the ensuing discussion. After a further 25 min half of the participants from each table moved to the next table and the hosts spent the first few minutes talking about the last conversation’s ideas while the “ambassadors” talked about what they’ve brought from their previous table. The second round consisted entirely of discussion (no new brainstorming) building on the idea that new views and the combination of views would lead to enough discussion material. After the last round, each table was asked to provide a summary of their discussions to all present.
Evaluation and Results
Discussions at tables were forthcoming and lively. Community members were engaged with the task at hand and contributed. The format of World Café was accepted as a good method to elicit views and opinions. Nobody left the event during the World Café and late arrivers were smoothly integrated into the groups. The hosts of the tables were asked to facilitate discussion and make sure that silent community members were heard. Figure 6 shows the flipchart SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunities, threats) quadrants with post-its from the three tables.
Figure 6: Photographs of the three tables’ flipchart SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunities, threats) quadrants with post-its.
To find emerging views from the three tables’ SWOT analyses one steering group member analysed all post-its and produced the following table (Table 1).
Table 1: Emerging themes from SWOT analysis regarding business and employment in Pool-in-Wharfedale from community members’ discussions.
There was a strong sense from the local business community to strengthen local businesses primarily through increased visibility and business-to-business connections.
The three invited speakers gave a 10 min presentation each about the importance of businesses in the local community and the speakers’ respective offer of support in that regard. A question and answer session followed the three presentations, in which community members took up the opportunity for some grilling questions.
The three speakers were:
- Greg Mulholland (local MP for Leeds North West)
- Simon Brereton (Economic Development Programme Leader at Leeds City Council)
- Alex McWhirter (CEO of Finance Yorkshire)
- Simon Brereton offered potentially useful data that can be obtained from Leeds City Council.
- Immediately after the meeting an individual volunteered to set up a business network in Pool-in-Wharfedale and become the 'Business Ambassador' for the NP.