Since 2001 Northamptonshire ACRE have assisted over 65 parishes across the county in completing their Parish Plan. Unfortunately funding for Parish Plans has come to an end, however, there may be alternative grant pots available from other sources which we would be happy to advise on. We are still able to provide support and advice in the development of Parish Plans.
Please contact your Rural Officer on 01604 765888 for more information. Members of Northamptonshire ACRE can view some completed parish plans here.
WHAT is a Parish Plan?
You cannot prevent change, but what you can do is influence it. A Parish Plan can help your community to make change happen. Parish Plans give an opportunity for everyone in your community to make themselves heard. They provide a way for you to say if you want more open spaces, more effective public transport, affordable housing, better access to health care, a chance to buy local produce at local shops and to choose how your community helps everyone in it to relax and make the most of their social and leisure time. A Parish Plan can include any social, economic or environmental issues that are important to the community.
A Parish Plan is similar to a business plan – it’s a document that sets out the community’s issues, needs and aspirations. It sets out what you need (future) and what you value (present) based on the community’s opinions which will form an action plan to prioritise the issues. It is a community project that is supported by the Parish Council.
WHY a Parish Plan?
- Parish councillors need to know what the community wants and it shows them what may be missing from the village.
- It shows how many people would use more facilities.
- It enables local people to shape the future of their village and influence local change – local solutions to local problems.
- Parish Plans help funding organisations as they evidence need and provide information about who wants their money.
- It gives everyone an opportunity to contribute, not just those who are the most confident, and gives the whole community a louder voice.
- Parish Plans help service providers to plan how to deliver services better.
- Reinvigorates local democracy by stimulating interest in local affairs creating a stronger and more cohesive community (= community spirit!)
- Helps communities become more sustainable
HOW do you do a Parish Plan?
Every Parish Plan is undertaken individually according to the parish. However, this is the basic nine-step process that we guide communities through:
- Get the community interested and involved
- Set up a Steering Group with wide representation from the community (containing no more than three parish councillors)
- Put together a strategy, budget and ‘programme/timescale of events’ on how you plan to undertake the plan
- Consult with the community
- Analyse the data, sorting and prioritising issues and start to form focus groups to take the actions forward
- Put a first draft of the document together to share with the community and partner organisations
- Take on board any comments from the community and produce the final document
- Start to implement the action plan
- Regularly review and update on progress
If you are interested in carrying out a Parish Plan and would like more information or require support with the process, please leave a comment below for the attention of Elaine O’Leary, Rural Officer or contact us on 01604 765888.