Big Conversation

The Big Conversation was a year long dialogue with all those who have a stake in Southall to set out a shared Vision to shape its future. As a conversation, the emphasis was on a two way process which involved generating ideas, a lot of listening and ultimately some choices being made.

However, the Big Conversation was about a lot more than talking and through the resulting Southall Charter, the emphasis was very much on the actions we would all need to undertake in order to help deliver on the Vision for Southall.

Developed in close cooperation with the community, civic leaders, businesses and our public sector partners, the Big Conversation benefitted from incredible energy and determination which so defines Southall as a community and as a place.

Below, you can read the detailed findings from each of the rounds of public engagement, which took place over the course of 2012. We’ve made a conscious decision to publish all of the material that was prepared throughout the process, so that anyone can use the material as they see fit (to be inspired, to scrutinise, to help develop some of the ideas we’ve not been able to take forward).

Round 1: generating ideas and understanding the issues
The first round of consultation provided an opportunity to understand people’s prioities for Southall and to capture some of their ideas for change. This involved a series of events, which are detailed below. For convenience, we’ve prepared a handy summary. Please leave any comments you may have at the bottom of the page.
Download: Outcomes of Listening to Southall (Round 1 Summary)

Talking to those in the know (February – March 2012)
The first conversations to take place were with a huge range of existing groups that live, work and breathe Southall. The summary of this very informative round captures a flavour of the wealth of community knowledge that is already held by those who work every day to make Southall a better place.
Download: Talking to those in the know – summary of stakeholder consultations

This session was supplemented by a session with people working within the Council. This suggested a lot of potential project ideas, which are presented in the detailed note below. (note: these findings are a record of a workshop and the opinions are those of the individuals and do not necessarily represent the view of the Council).
Download: Ideas from within the Council

Big Ideas event (March 14th, 2012)
Do we want Southall’s town centre to be more ‘mainstream’ or more ‘unique’? Should we focus on Southall’s local role or its global one? What little and big things could we do in Southall to make a big difference?

These are some of the ideas discussed at the Big Ideas event. An incredibly energetic session, more than 90 members of the public (in addition to about 20 from partner organisations) turned up to try and generate ideas as to what we can do positively to improve Southall for all. The document below sets out a summary of the suggestions, but also contains a record of the ideas suggested.
Download: Big Ideas Event – Findings

Want to use the ideas for inspiration? Feel you can work with friends, family, colleagues to help make them happen? We’ve provided a full transcript of all the ideas below to let you see what other people suggested.
Download: Transcript of Submitted Ideas

Hitting the streets – public consultation (March 30th – 31st, 2012)
Over a period of two days, members of the community and partners donned some colourful t-shirts, brought out some balloons, dished out some samosas and sought to canvass ideas and issues from young and old. We had an amazing response, with approximately 1,000 people contacted during the day. The document below sets out a summary of what people commented on and their spontaneous ideas for change. The beautiful graphic below sets out a one page interpretation of all the information collected throughout the process up to this time.
Download: Hitting the streets – public consultation findings

Big Conversation: Issues and Ideas

Round 2: Developing the Charter (April – October 2012)
Since the first round of engagement, the partners and the community have been getting on with seeing how some of the ideas can be delivered and how the wide range of issues identified can be responded to. We’ve been doing a lot of work around developing project ideas, encouraging new partnerships to be formed, and exploring innovative means of bringing in more resources into Southall.

We’ve been out meeting the Voluntary and Community Sector, business leaders, other public sector partners and members of the Futures Team who asked to be more involved in the process. The graphic below was an early attempt to summarise how the Charter might be delivered.

Delivering the Charter?

Testing the Charter (July 2012)
This event sought to explore and test the key findings from the Big Conversation and test some of the ideas for projects to be included in the Charter. The event confirmed that peole felt that the issues identified were accurate and reflected people’s concerns. An exercise was undertaken which sought to prioritise projects based on an energetic debate. A number of projects were considered by the group to have particular merit, with people present highlighting the importance of the importance of moving rapidly onto the delivery of projects.
Download: Delivering the Charter – Futures Team event (Round 2 Summary)

Get involved, get networked, get informed (October 2012)
This event involved 2 days of engagement with members of the community, businesses and stakeholders on October 5th and 6th. The purpose of the engagement was to present the Charter to the public and to get them to sign up to the Vision and Commitments contained within the Charter.

There was also a significant effort to get members of the public to get involved in volunteering projects in Southall and to inform people about the other projects proposed through the Southall Charter
Download: Get involved, get networked, get informed – public engagement findings

Launching the Charter (December 2012)
The final event of the Big Conversation will took place in December at the Southall Campus of Ealing, Hammersmith & West London College. This involved the public launch of the Southall Charter and the Southall Micro-fund and gave an update on progress achieved so far with the Charter’s projects.

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