There is a sense recently that TCG is becoming fragnented and lacks cohesion. I want to suggest ways we might resolve this.
Whilst Frome was living example of what can be done, it has the advantage (as do Totnes, Stroud, Bexhill (apparently!) – and many others) of being fairly confined geographically. Torridge is dispersed over a large area with many wards. The name TCG was chosen to denote a whole district as opposed to one small market town eg Frome. By framing it in this way we were entering the unknown – little did we know what we’re getting ourselves into! We now have eight elected councillors from different parts of Torridge. The focus was getting these councillors elected. We are now in a different place.
The identity of TCG remains intact – a platform to encourage other communities to self-organise and develop in their own area. Each district has its own unique needs and identity. But how does it express this unique identity to the public? How do the elected councillors implement the individual concerns of the public? Carl rightly asks What’s Next?
Communication and discussion is more important than ever so that we can ask the right questions and explore pathways to answering them.
Current existing modes of communication are – the assemblies, meetings, emails, phone calls and messaging, Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, the newsletter and the new Website/forum. This is all great but fragmentation arises. Let’s look at these with their possibilities and limitations –
assemblies – every 2 months. Great initial success for the purpose of the election. Now we are in a different place the recent assembly indicates amendments are needed. (See suggestions by John Ward and reservations by Carl). Needs further discussion on purpose and means of attracting the public as well as initial TCG non-councillors supporters.
meetings – Larger meetings at Tapeley – always popular.
Small, frequent, group meetings and one-to-one – (we thrive on these in Northam).
Other meetings at the Custom House are variously attended, dependent on people reading emails regarding dates and purpose.. Regularly visiting the website for info might help?
emails – essential but threads can become long and unwieldy and important info eg time and focus of next meeting seems to be getting lost or unread. Again – making use of the website or the Facebook page might help.
Newsletter Jamie produces this and reaches beyond the email list
Twitter Totally Jamie. Am I the only one liking his tweets?!
What’s app – used by the Bideford wards.
Facebook – despite Jamie and Kaye’s great video, nothing else is happening. Take a peak at NDXR’s Facebook page which is amazing! What can we learn from this? Is anyone prepared to take responsibility for the TCG Facebook page?
website/forum – a genius construction of Carl’s, and imho, one that promises to play a major part in connecting TCG councillors and the non-councillor community (and eventually the public) as well as providing a seedbed for ideas and projects and envisioning a reilient and abundant future for the people of Torridge. Something utterly lacking in present council procedures and mindsets!
So, these various modes of communication will appeal to different people. But they are in place and we should be able to improve on them and make better use of them.
The projects imagined and being created by Joel, Daniel, Guiseppe and John are fantastic opportunities for manifesting the TCG vision. And not forgetting our enormously energetic Laurence with his travelogue and research of amazing things happening in other parts of the country, returning with stories to inspire us and revive our spirits!.
Once we start supporting and promoting these projects and initiatives, we begin to provide real spaces for councillors, TCG community and the public to participate and for TCG to continue to define its identity.
The word vibrancy keeps popping into my mind – perhaps because this is what I sense when I talk to active members of TCG. There is so much imagination, expertise and commitment to a resilient – even abundant future, for the Torridge area. Let’s work together!