The Community Plan's overarching priority is to increase community participation in Merton as a driver to improving resilience and wellbeing, focussing on those parts of the borough with the poorest outcomes.
The Plan highlights how adopting a collective approach can help better achieve the ambitions of people living and working in the borough. It includes a number of examples of activity showcased to illustrate how people in the community are already helping making Merton a better place in which to live and work.
Merton has an active and vibrant voluntary and community sector that already provides a wide range of valuable services, and that makes a positive contribution to the lives of many in the borough. The Community Plan wants to further strengthen the ability of these groups to have a positive impact, through better co-ordination and joining up of the public and voluntary sectors on a collective set of priorities. Most importantly the Plan wants to encourage actions that mobilise and involve our local communities, so they become active partners in helping us meet the growing and changing needs of our population.
The Community Plan has nine priorities. The first is an overarching priority to increase social capital in communities and neighbourhoods experiencing the worst outcomes in terms of the recently updated Index of Multiple Deprivation, and then eight thematic priorities. There is a clear link between social capital and socio-economic outcomes. By increasing social capital in those neighbourhoods with the poorest outcomes we can contribute to bridging the gap in outcomes between communities in the east and west of Merton.
The Plan sets out actions for how partners can work collectively with communities to deliver the priorities. This includes identifying and highlighting community assets - not only physical spaces, but people and groups with skills and knowledge that can help strengthen and grow community-led activities.
The eight thematic priorities were proposed by each of the Merton Partnership's four Thematic Networks. These are not entirely new priorities, but are based on the most recent strategies agreed by each Thematic Network. They follow extensive research on social capital in Merton, detailed needs analysis and engagement with residents. They have been chosen because they can only be delivered by partners, residents and businesses working collectively together. They are also quite specific and focused priorities. rather than broad and high level, because we believe this will help to ensure that activity is directly linked to achieving the priorities.
The eight thematic priorities are:
- Reducing carbon emissions to tackle climate change
- Protecting and enhancing the local environment
- Tackling diabetes and creating a healthy place
- Creating Healthy Workplaces across Merton
- Reducing serious violence
- Enforcing action against anti-social behaviour
- Getting involved and having a say – promoting the voice of children and young people
- Making Merton a place where children and young people feel they belong and thrive.
We want the Community Plan to be a helpful tool for everyone living and working in Merton. It aims to give the local community a clear articulation of the Merton Partnership's long term aspirations for the borough as well as setting out the ways in which they can get involved in communal activities to help achieve them.