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How Solihull's Environment Champions work with the council to transform their neighbourhoods

Learning Points

The Environmental Champions initiative has several lessons for other local councils and agencies interested in co-production and greater community involvement.

  1. A strong co-ordinator provides important support, supervision, strategic use of capacity, and ensures momentum.
  2. Regular promotion of success, particularly in local press and to partners and councillors to maximise impact
  3.  A strong and clearly outlined framework is crucial. Targets and clear methods for performance measurement help ensure success and growth of an initiative. The framework safeguards against project failure that can discourage community participation and reduce possible social gains.
  4. Quick wins, rewards and publicity. Environment Champions shows that it is crucial to establish early successes to attract more volunteers and private partners. This allows the project to be scaled up. It is also important to show appreciation to volunteers. Post-volunteering parties and publicity in the media give volunteers and business partners  further motivation to be involved. Good use of the media illustrates successes and also helps recruit more participants.
  5. Involve younger people. They provide enthusiasm and imagination. Volunteering can make them role models and provides skills which improve the employability of young people.
  6. Building strong partnerships is crucial. They are important for providing resources, skills and capacity which is crucial in a context of small budgets and big society. Partnerships provide good will and leads to a more cohesive community.
  7. Local Businesses – are always on the lookout for projects in their local area as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility, capitalise on this for large projects.

 

 

About this case study
Main Contact

Alison Lush
Neighbourhood Manager

Email:
alilush@solihull.gov.uk
Telephone:
0121 704 8031

Chris Edgell
Environment Champion Coordinator

Email:
cedgell@solihull.gov.uk

This case study was written by Frankie Hine-Hughes in April 2011 and updated by Chris Edgell on 29 August 2013.

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