There is plenty of evidence to show that community engagement improves decision-making and leads to the design of more effective and holistic services as it draws on local intelligence.
Engagement empowers communities and the individuals who live and work in them to gain a greater control over their lives. The World Health Organisation found that it has a real positive impact on general health and well-being, as isolation is massively reduced.
In the type of communities we envision, people will be empowered to work together to determine the detailed specifications of their local services and determine who the provider should be. They will be encouraged where they wished to manage those services themselves, either at arm’s-length, through community co- operatives, or through a social enterprise.
There are already some excellent examples of communities providing much needed services Yorkshire. For examples, The Selby Garden Enterprise offers a practical gardening and landscaping service for residents and businesses in the Selby area; The Wilf’s Café social enterprise provides employment training for disabled people in the Pickering area to enable them to move into the local employment market. The café also includes a sandwich delivery- round, and a full laundry and bed-making service for people with long-term health conditions and terminal illness.
We want to build on these excellent initiatives. They not only help deliver a much better quality of life for their customers but provide meaningful local employment with high levels of job satisfaction.