Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Play your part:: A toolkit for active citizenship

Play your Part is a toolkit for teachers to help encourage pupils to play an active role in community projects; it can be used to support Citizenship, Drama, Geography and PSHE lessons.

This site includes ideas, resources, activities and teaching aids designed to raise awareness of sustainable communities, inspire young people to play a part in improving their communities and develop the skills, knowledge and understanding needed to devise and run successful citizen projects.

The site has resources in four main areas:

Introduction to the components of a sustainable community

Sustainable communities are places where people want to live and work, now and in the future. The Egan Review (2004) examined the factors that go to make a sustainable community and presented them as a set of eight vital components. This approach has been adopted by the Homes and Communities Academy. The components can be set out as a simple diagram called an 'Sustainable Communities Wheel'.

Sustainable Communities Wheel

View resource pdf icon egan_wheel.pdf

Looking at each of these components in more detail...

Active, inclusive and safe - this means being fair, tolerant and cohesive with a strong local culture and other shared community activities. It suggests a diverse, vibrant and creative local culture encouraging pride in the community and cohesion within it. It also suggests an active voluntary and community sector.

Well run - this involves sound governance with effective and inclusive participation, representation and leadership. Strong leadership is essential if a community is to respond positively to change. Effective engagement and participation by local people, groups and businesses is vital especially in the planning, design and long-term stewardship of their community.

Environmentally sensitive - this means providing places for people to live that are considerate of the environment. It requires a safe and healthy local environment with well-designed public and green space.

Well designed and built - this means providing or retaining a high quality built and natural environment. A community must be of sufficient size, scale and density and have an effective layout to support basic amenities in the neighbourhood and minimise use of resources (including land). Buildings both individually and collectively must meet different needs over time, and minimise the use of resources. A sustainable community requires a well-integrated mix of decent homes of different types and tenures to support a range of household sizes, ages and incomes. The community should have a 'sense of place'.

Well connected - this means providing good transport services and communication linking people to jobs, health and other services. Good public transport and other transport infrastructure is needed both within the community and linking it to urban, rural and regional centres, as well as with the wider national and international community.

Thriving - this involves a flourishing and diverse local economy to provide jobs and wealth.

Well served - this involves providing public, private, community and voluntary services that are appropriate to people's needs and accessible to all. Good quality, local public services should be available including education and training opportunities, health care, community and leisure facilities.

Fair for everyone - this involves consideration of the needs of those living in other communities both now and the future. All our individual and communal choices may impact adversely on others especially in terms of the overall need for sustainable development.