The Love Meanwood project began with people in Meanwood wanting to make changes to the local area but recognised that what they wanted to change might not be the same as what other people wanted.

We helped get the project started by writing funding bids that led to support from the National Lottery Community Fund and Leeds City Council. Meanwood Valley Partnership appointed us as the Lead Delivery Partner for the project and a steering group of representatives from local organisations was formed.

People taking part in the Big Questions consultation ( © timdunk.com)
People taking part in the Big Questions consultation ( © timdunk.com)
People drawing on the community maps at the consultation ( © timdunk.com)
People drawing on the community maps at the consultation ( © timdunk.com)
Enjoying free refreshments and a chat about Meanwood ( © timdunk.com)
Enjoying free refreshments and a chat about Meanwood ( © timdunk.com)

We were very aware that people in Meanwood don’t all have an equal experience of life. We worked with Leeds Observatory to look at the indices of multiple deprivation to help us better understand inequalities in Meanwood and how we can ensure that everyone’s voices are heard.

The steering group led by Lemon Balm co-designed an extensive consultation process that would best capture the views, thoughts and opinions of the people all across Meanwood. The first stage was called the ‘Big Questions’. We asked three open questions: What do you Love about Meanwood? What don’t you like about Meanwood? And What are you passionate to change?

Most people answered through an online survey but we ran two consultation events in two different parts of Meanwood. At these events we had an exhibition of what research we had already undertaken and ran a community mapping workshop where people could draw on a big map of the area and contribute their thoughts. Once we had analysed the data we could identify gaps in the data where people from certain demographic groups or areas within Meanwood were not represented so to address this we ran several extra targeted consultations, one at an Iqra centre and another at a school.

Tea, Coffee and Cake helped convince people to take part in the consultation on a cold wintery day ( © timdunk.com)
Tea, Coffee and Cake helped convince people to take part in the consultation on a cold wintery day ( © timdunk.com)
People taking part in the Big Questions consultation ( © timdunk.com)
People taking part in the Big Questions consultation ( © timdunk.com)
Arriving at the community workshop evening and exhibition of the process so far ( © timdunk.com)
Arriving at the community workshop evening and exhibition of the process so far ( © timdunk.com)

The responses were analysed from the ‘Big Questions’ and we identified seven discussion topics to be looked at further. We organised a community workshop where we invited people who had registered an interest in helping to develop the vision further. The event had seven discussion tables and over the course of the evening everyone had a chance to discuss three of the topics with each other and a facilitator. The findings from the community workshop led us to develop three focus areas for the vision. These were called: Meanwood Greenspace, Connections and The Heart. Each focus area has three projects that had been developed based on discussions at the workshop event and the original big questions event.

All of the research and consultation informed Meanwood’s vision which is: “By 2030 we will work together to make Meanwood a climate resilient community where all neighbours can enjoy a healthy life with equal access to opportunities, facilities, services and public spaces.” The report is called ‘A 2030 Vision for Meanwood’ and is available online. A summary leaflet was printed and will be distributed to as many households across Meanwood as possible.

Since the vision was launched new and existing groups have begun coordinating themselves, taking on the projects and making positive changes to the area. The report is available at www.lovemeanwood.org.uk

An introduction to the project and the community workshop ( © timdunk.com)
An introduction to the project and the community workshop ( © timdunk.com)
Round table workshop discussions ( © timdunk.com)
Round table workshop discussions ( © timdunk.com)
A group discussion at the workshop ( © timdunk.com)
A group discussion at the workshop ( © timdunk.com)
A diagram used to explain the process that the project took
A diagram used to explain the process that the project took