A first for Dorset Parish Councils! An empowering People’s Assembly - hosted by Corfe Castle Parish Council Environmental Group on 5 Jan 2021.
The People’s Assembly approach is totally new to our village so we were thrilled & heartened with a Zoom call turnout of 60+. The Assembly was held to discuss Dorset Council’s proposed Strategy & Action Plan on the Climate & Ecological Emergency.
Corfe Castle Parish Councillor, Josey Parish, opened with “tackling these emergencies is the most important issue of our lifetime”.
And boy-oh-boy did we get a response that reflected that. There was a real sense of ‘a village hall feeling’ throughout. The smaller groups (or ‘tables’) worked well, with great input from everyone.
As part of our submission to DC’s proposed strategy, Dorset Council will receive every single comment that was raised on the night. That same input will also form solid foundations for the community of Corfe Castle as we continue moving forward in 2021.
Check out this comment by Jenny from Corfe “All these people who go to sports centres to wear off their energy and to get fit ought to be plugged into the national grid producing electricity!”
One overriding concern was the disconnect between the Council’s plan of action of 20 years and the Council’s acknowledgement of the need for urgent action in 8-10 years; but it was also pointed out that financial constraints on Dorset Council could limit the urgency of their action and one group fed back that the targets need to be realistic. The positive outcome was that the community has bags of ideas and plenty of passion to back an accelerated target date. Many people were unsure of what they can do. With the help of their blossoming Environmental Group, we are now coming together to take ownership with the aim to make significant positive changes.
With regards to the virtual People’s Assembly approach, Steve Clarke, the Chairman of Corfe Castle Parish Council, beamed with joy as he stated that “it’s brilliant and has transformed my vision of how you can arrange meetings and involve people in small groups.” The Chairman continued “this is an issue which affects everybody, and everyone has got to play their part.”
We were really encouraged by the numbers of residents ‘signing up’ to get more involved. Our next Corfe Environment Group meeting is on 21st January, focusing on what actions we can all take as individuals. Find out more on our Corfe Castle Parish Council Environmental Group Page.
Dorset Councillor Nocturin Lacey-Clark brilliantly noted at the beginning of the assembly “there’s no vaccine for climate change”. We’d like to counter that thought though, following the People’s Assembly “by working together, we’re stronger together, we need to own this, we together are the vaccine!
Thanks for reading!
Helen, Josey, Luke and the rest of the core team (Corfe Castle Parish Council Environment Group) 8th January 2021