To receive updates from ward councillors from Rother Vale on the activities supporting Thriving Neighbourhoods across the Borough.
Further to Minute No. 55 of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 19th November 2018, consideration was given to the annual Ward updates for Rother Vale as part of the Thriving Neighbourhood Strategy.
Update reports had been provided as part of the agenda. However, each Ward Member was invited to speak.
Councillor Brookes noted that the overarching aim of the thriving neighbourhood’s strategy was for “Every neighbourhood in Rotherham to be a thriving neighbourhood, where people are able to work together to achieve a good quality of life.’ It was understood as councillors, that their constituents wanted more than a ring-fenced place to live. They wanted a quality of life and a livelihood. A useful shorthand for this was perhaps to talk, as we do, of a thriving neighbourhood.
However, outside of the framework that had been constructed, people were more likely to hear reference about properties and areas, estates, villages and towns. Particularly in the private sector world of development and construction, reference to neighbourhoods was more of a footnote. And when it came to new neighbourhoods, they were viewed primarily as a means of supplementing the UK’s housing stock.
Private sector delivery of this demand was alas programmed to sell, and so to value, individual properties as opposed to neighbourhoods. They traded in one-off transactions with individual clients. They were not equipped ? or inclined ? to ascribe a value to communal facilities or public space, let alone to collective aspirations or societal change. This was a palpable failure of the market and a disconnect from what the Council was trying to achieve as community leaders in local government.
Given this environment, the modest projects and initiatives that councillors were able to effect within the parameters of neighbourhood working were ever more important. The many qualities that combined to create a thriving neighbourhood were interwoven and mutually dependent, and it had been seen that small, inexpensive, local initiatives could have an outsize effect. Particularly in places where community had yet to be defined.
One of the challenges for Rother Vale ward as a neighbourhood unit was with geographical spread and varied composition of different villages and communities. were they one or several neighbourhoods? Did they work together, or (as was often the case) did they compete?
It was known that neighbourhoods had to be socially as well as physically constructed. Most people felt they intuitively understood those constructed boundaries and measures, in the shape of either a ‘good neighbourhood’ with friendly, neighbourly interactions, security, gathering places and a clean, attractive environment – or in a “bad neighbourhood”, with dereliction, low trust, anti-social interaction, and isolation.
People spent the majority of their lives in their neighbourhood. This was readily recognised for the older generations whom on the whole travel for work less and were often physically less mobile. However, there was an increased impact for people of working age, for whom technology had now liberated from commuting to the workplace. A new class of people hidden away from view and left deprived of company in a way they never were before. This was a permanent societal change in the time spent in our individual neighbourhoods that any thriving model needed to recognise. We needed to be building and supporting neighbourhoods that reasserted the social dimension of professional life now more than ever.
Finally, one of the most important of people’s needs, was the need to be bound to their neighbours in a relation of trust. Most people didn’t only think about GDP, they cared deeply about things like identity, community, belonging and tradition. And they were driven by things like recognition, voice and dignity. For her this was the threshold of knowing what was aimed for with thriving communities.
Councillor Miro explained that the time of his election was a time of significant change in his life and was associated with some considerable joy and excitement as he became able to exact his values and principles to the service of his local area. He was driven by a love for the environment and renewable energy and the fear from climate change. He was able to support and develop community safety supporting health, tackle social and economic issues and improve community cohesion.
These objectives would be achieved by supporting 30 projects around the Rother Vale area, working with 15 different community groups and other agencies, including schools, parish and community councils.
In November they would be supporting the planting of 100 trees and would be launching an adopt a tree scheme.
That the report be noted.