As projects moved from ideas to delivery, it became clear that the high-ranking ‘officials’ who took part in the initial ideas workshops, and the partnership delivery was not sustained. By the end of the project, the core group involved in delivery was limited to several (often more junior) council officers and a handful of committed community members.
Of this committed group of community leads, we could see clearly that the individuals that remained engaged in the process are those whose personal interest aligns strongly with the outcomes of the project (personal interest may mean the aims of their organisations or the benefit of their own neighbourhood).
This is of course completely understandable but should reaffirm to the council that, for those working in a voluntary capacity or as a community member, personal interest is paramount in determining the activities they will get involved in. Projects that are community-led are more likely to lead to sustained engagement of the individuals. Conversely, the council should expect gaps in community provision if interest doesn’t exist at grass roots level. In adopting this way of working, the council may need to acknowledge that facilities in some areas will look markedly different from others as a result.