Taking our First Steps to a Community Action Plan

The launch of the Trust's First Steps project at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre was attended by over 35 market traders, local businesses, residents and other supporters.
The launch of the Trust’s First Steps project at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre was attended by over 35 market traders, local businesses, residents and other supporters. Photo credit: Martin Ball, Steering Group member.

Report from Steering Group member, Susie Finlayson. More photos from the event available here, with thanks to Martin Ball, another steering group member.

The West Green Road/Seven Sisters Development Trust launched its First Steps project on 28th September.

We have been selected to receive funding, training and support as part of First Steps, a national programme supporting community groups to develop community action plans.

The focus of the Trust’s action plan is delivering the community plan for the Wards building – home to Seven Sisters market – which received planning permission in April 2014. The project is being led by the First Steps Steering Group of 12 local traders, businesses, residents and others who bring relevant skills and experiences.

The steering group was joined at the event by various members of the local community, some the long-time stalwarts of local community action, others market traders or local business owners or local residents getting involved in their community for the first time.

Whilst many people in the room were familiar with the long campaign to save Wards Corner (see Wards Corner Community Coalition website) and the current situation, others were hearing about it for the first time. So we started the meeting with an introduction to the Trust and the community plan and an update on the traders’ concerns about the current lease of Seven Sisters market potentially being transferred to a market operator with links to the developer, Grainger Plc, which hopes to demolish Wards Corner. We then broke into groups to discuss the priorities identified for the action plan.

Pulling together all the various experiences, ideas and proposals we focussed in on priorities for the next five years across four key areas: governance, 1) business planning and funding, 2) feasibility studies, 3) communications and marketing and 4) governance. We appointed reps for each of these four priority areas who will be organising more meetings and activities over the coming months to develop our action plan and work towards delivering the community plan. Email n15developmenttrust@gmail.com to get involved. Further details on the working groups available here.

The event was a success and gave us a great starting point for each of the working groups to go and build their content for the action plan. And we cemented the involvement of the local community, both those already very engaged locally and those who were at their first community event in the area. Pulling together a successful community action plan is dependent on including the voices of the community so we will continue to share information about our work and promote opportunities to get involved.

Coming up we will develop the action plan further at an event on 2nd November at Tottenham Chances and pull together a draft for the end of November.

We will have the final event of the programme next year and will be holding meetings of working groups between now and then. Keep an eye on the working groups part of the website if you want to come along, or sign up for email updates.

There is much work to be done in our bid to deliver development for and with the community in the West Green Road/Seven Sisters but we have taken our First Steps and will be working hard in the coming months to put in place our action plan for delivering the community plan for Wards Corner.

Sign the petition to save Seven Sisters Market here.

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