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CLP: What? Why? How?

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What is a community led plan?

A Community Led Plan (CLP) sets out a vision of how our community wishes to develop and it identifies the actions needed to achieve it. These plans are produced in communities, by communities, for communities. They are based on detailed consultation often through questionnaires, open meetings and discussion with community groups and should involve the whole community.
CLPs prompt local action and influence others such as local councils. The process of developing a CLP should give everyone the chance to say what they think about the issues affecting their community and how they would like it to develop. It celebrates the good things, highlights local needs and contains a detailed action plan to help the community meet those needs. 
In this document, the CLP group hopes to reflect the views of the community of Church Minshull. In compiling this document the CLP group have used various sources of data, including published data such as the electoral roll and the 2011 census.

Why produce a CLP?

If a community wishes to influence a policy formulation and propose improvements and changes, it needs first to have a clear idea of its own aspirations, concerns and sense the environment that its residents want. It should understand the strengths and shortcomings of current services and facilities and the opinions and attitudes of its residents and those that work within it.
The CLP attempts to address how things should change or develop, or not and which policies are felt to be desirable or which the community should try to resist. Even those who may want no change, usually recognise that some is inevitable, even in Church Minshull! A CLP provides an opportunity to try to shape those changes in a direction reflecting the views of the community.
Lastly, in introducing a CLP, there was an aim to ensure a sense of community spirit is encouraged and promoted as part of the activities. The CLP group has tried to involve as many of our residents as possible in creating a vision for the future development of our locality.

How — what were the activities?

A small steering group, made up of volunteers from the Parish Council, Church and Village Hall committees, was established in late 2011 to lead the process. This later evolved into the CM Vision steering group which encouraged the formation of three working groups in the areas of Direct Action, Jubilee Celebrations and the CLP Group. Additional volunteers were recruited to these groups to support and progress the actions.
Inclusivity, maximum participation and full consultation were the underlying principles of the project. Letters were distributed to all residents inviting them to the launch of the CLP and meetings were conducted as an open evening in the village hall in Oct 2011 with support from the Leader of Cheshire East Council and Cheshire Community Action.
At this meeting, people were asked to identify areas of concern and interest. These were: a village green, the volume and weight of traffic, footpaths, bus services and the village website. This information was used to help structure a questionnaire which was designed and distributed to 195 households in the community of Church Minshull (not all were inhabited) in April 2012. The response to the questionnaire was a total of 65 completed responses, accounting for 130 residents or 31% of households which is considered a good average in Cheshire. 14% of respondents were under 18 however 60% of respondents were of retirement age which was disproportionately high.
Despite an effort by the CLP group to encourage as many households as possible to respond, unfortunately not all residents wanted to engage with the process. With this in mind further open meetings were used to further encourage participation including a feedback session in September 2012 which was supported by Cheshire Community Action. More views and ideas were shared and many of these are reflected in the Plan. The process of gathering the information was a great opportunity for residents of the Church Minshull community to get together to discuss issues and ideas as well as meet each other, even if this meant taking longer than anticipated to produce a final plan. As the work progresses the CLP group will continue to try to engage more with the working age constituency within the community and with those living outside of the village centre.
The CLP group but also importantly, the CM Vision group and Parish Council, did not as a team, want the creation of a plan document to delay real activity and progress on the initiatives identified. To this end the community has already benefited. A number of social events have been devised and organised by the CM Vision Events group with the aim of building stronger community spirit and there has been real progress on some of the issues identified during the CLP process.
So far; the community has a radical new traffic calming scheme, a fresh new website — www.villagearena.org and effort has been to ensure Church Minshull will have super-fast broadband access as early as possible. There have been plays, sports day mayhem and the village's own farce — The Mongrel of the Minshervilles.

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