Cabinet approves Connected Communities Strategy

Bexley’s Cabinet this week (9 July) approved the borough’s first Connected Communities Strategy. It aims to celebrate and support those who want to make a positive difference to the lives of our communities.

Councillor Alex Sawyer, the Council’s Cabinet member for Communities said: “Connected communities matter, because of their potential to help with issues like loneliness, to give communities a collective voice and make Bexley a welcoming place that people are proud to call home. To achieve this we need to work with residents and community groups as equal partners.

“We know from our recent consultation that there are people in Bexley who have only recently moved here who are looking to get to know their neighbours better and put down roots. There are younger people looking to develop their skills while looking after their environment. And there are people approaching retirement who know the borough, and have useful connections, contacts and experience, who have a lot to contribute.”

The Council will now be working to celebrate those who organise community initiatives and provide support where it can. 

It has made a commitment to maintain the current level of investment in voluntary sector infrastructure. It will be entering into longer grant agreements with them, to help them recruit and retain high quality staff.

It will also be publishing guidance to help those organising community activities, as well as working to reduce the ‘red tape’ that this sometimes involves.

To celebrate the first year of the Bexley Community Lottery, the Council will be launching the Bexley Community Fund, to provide funding for small community projects. In the autumn, it will be launching a new civic crowdfunding platform to support more ambitious projects.

The Council will be sharing examples of people whose community activity is making life better on its new Connected Communities website, in the Bexley Magazine and on social media.

“We want to help more people see the benefits of being active and involved in their community,” said Councillor Sawyer. “We will be shining a spotlight on some of the people who already are and hoping to inspire many more to get involved in the way they choose.”