What is a community assembly?
A Community Assembly is a structured and facilitated space where a group of people can come to together to explore issues and generate solutions, with no one person or group dominating. It is an effective way of harnessing the collective wisdom of the crowd. It has 3 parts, first, some information is shared around a key question e.g. what can we, as a community, do to protect our Green Belt from development? Then the group splits into smaller facilitated groups for 30 mins to discuss what they have heard and generate some solutions. Finally, the groups come back together and a rep from each group shares the key points. The main facilitator checks to see which ideas are the most popular and then forms working groups to follow up the key action points. There are examples of communities from all over the world using this format to organise themselves. In these uncertain times, they are proving a valuable tool to help our neighbourhoods become resilient and strong.
Benefits of a community assembly.
- Sharing information. Few of us have the time to be completely up to speed on all the events happening in our local environment. By sharing information we can learn from each other. For instance, did you know that Elmbridge Borough Council has put forward 33 green belt sites for possible development in order to meet central government housing targets?
- Censorship. Media outlets are controlled by a few wealthy individuals and social media platforms by a handful of big tech companies. We cannot rely on these sources alone to provide information. In our community assembly, we can invite expert speakers to contribute to the debate. People who may not have a national platform but who have a wealth of information to share.
- Community empowerment. Once local people come together with more understanding of the bigger picture, they are empowered to act. Collectively, they can start campaigns, lobby councillors, alert local news outlets and share information with friends and neighbours. Knoweldge is power.
The next Elmbridge Community Assembly will be held on
Wednesday 24th March at 6.30 pm.
If you would like to join the
Elmbridge Community Assembly
then please sign up below: