In 2002 all residents of Heptonstall Civil Parish were invited to take part in a Government sponsored initiative; the development of a Parish Plan. The Parish Plan was seen as a vision of what we would like to achieve in Heptonstall Civil Parish over a ten year period. Whilst the Parish Council continues to hold the primary responsibility for the Parish Plan, and is active in supporting its development, it has delegated the responsibility for the community consultation, drafting and implementation of the plan to Heptonstall Forward. Heptonstall Forward was, and still is, a voluntary group of local residents established specifically to represent the interests and aspirations of the local community. It was, and still is, intended to be a vehicle for residents’ involvement at grass roots level.
It was a requirement that the Parish Plan should reflect the wishes of the whole community, and so Heptonstall Forward developed a community survey questionnaire and sent it out to every household in the Civil Parish area. From these consultations an action plan was drafted and the first Parish Plan was published in November 2003 – with a copy going out to each and every household. The original Parish Plan (also containing some very interesting information about the Civil Parish) is still available, and can be provided (in hard copy or pdf format) – should you want a copy.
The action plan developed from the original Parish Plan has been evaluated each year by Heptonstall Forward; we have looked at what has been achieved, (or not), and have included new targets as they have arisen. The updated annual targets have continued to be displayed in the Parish Notice Boards. Heptonstall Forward has also undertaken community activities such as Parish Clean-Up events and the (autumn) Bulb Planting. We have also continued to produce and distribute a Parish Newsletter, on behalf of the Parish Council, four times a year, with copies available in the local shops, church, chapel, schools, pubs and club.
More Recent Developments:
In 2010, having recognised that the original Parish Plan had probably run its natural course and needed updating, Heptonstall Forward sought and secured funding from Rural Action Yorkshire and Heptonstall Parish Council to develop a new plan, which is now to be known as the Community-led Plan. In May 2010 we organised a Community Showcase Event, at which local groups and organisations showcased their activities, and along with individual residents, shared their initial thoughts and aspirations with us on the future of our community. Having taken some initial views, issues and ideas, we went on to develop a comprehensive community consultation questionnaire which was sent out to all households in February 2011. The analysis of the completed/returned questionnaires was undertaken over the summer, and the finalised Community-led Plan – with its new action plan and ten potential projects – was published and distributed to each household in November 2011.
Community Volunteers and Membership of Heptonstall Forward:
Alongside the community questionnaire, we also distributed a Volunteering Form – encouraging members of the community to let us know if they were willing to help to deliver on the aspirations and issues identified in the Community-led Plan. We had a good number of positive responses and some of those have gone on to take an active part in taking forward the ten main areas for action (potential projects) coming out of the plan:-
- The Floral + Festive Light Displays Group
- The Communications Group (Newsletter + Website)
- The Traffic, Parking + Road Safety Group
- The Information + Signage Group
- The Good Neighbour Scheme (+ Voluntary Drivers) Group
- The Annual Parish Event Group
- The (Re) Cobbling Side Streets Group
- The Green + Environmental Group
- The Clean-Up Group
- The Children + Young People Group
Significant progress with some of these groups and projects has already been made, with other groups at various stages of development. We continue to seek additional volunteers to help with the delivery of these community aspirations. Do please contact us – if you are interested – by contacting the Heptonstall Forward Secretary in the first instance. We will then put you in touch with the specific groups in which you are interested (see phone number + e-mail below).
Membership of Heptonstall Forward is open to any interested person living in the Civil Parish of Heptonstall. Members are of various ages and backgrounds; no special expertise or experience is required – but would, of course, be welcome. Meetings are now scheduled to take place 3 monthly – with an annual AGM in July; they usually take place on a mid-week evening for around 2 hours. New members have joined the group by contacting our Secretary – or by just turning up at a meeting. Minutes of completed meetings, dates and times for future meetings are publicised on the Parish Notice Boards in Heptonstall and at May’s Shop, as well as on the Heptonstall Post Office Notice Board. We are also encouraging representation at meetings from the ten project groups – as their activity and progress towards their goals are, obviously, the major components of the Community-led Plan.
If you feel you would like to volunteer, to become a member of Heptonstall Forward or would like to find out more – then please contact the Heptonstall Forward Secretary, Mary Livesey:-
(By e-mail at Hepforward2000*talktalk.net (change * to @).
Your active participation and support will be most welcome!
Link to Heptonstall Newsletter – February 2012