“Where a city is willing to come together, park its agendas and work together, something very special happens.” These were the words of Andy Street, a business man and leading member of an initiative in Bristol which sees cross community groups working jointly to transform the city for good.
Andy came to St Paul’s Church in Weston-super-Mare to share with community groups there his experience of the transformative power that working together can have.
“There are some very exciting things that have been happening in Bristol in the past few years, not only have churches come together to work on some of the key issues, but also the way in which church is now actively looking to work with other sectors of society; working with business, working with the public sector, working with the charitable sector, in a way I don’t think I’ve seen before.”
And that’s what those attending the meeting at St Paul’s are hoping they can bring about in Weston-super-Mare. Church, community, business, health care, charity and education representatives attended the breakfast meeting organised by St Paul’s in an effort to find ways these organisations can forge collaborative partnerships and use their united power to create a brighter future for the town and its inhabitants.
All those taking part are keen to generate opportunities for everyone in Weston; setting up innovative projects which will reflect what the people of the town themselves want to see. As Rt Revd Ruth Worsley, the Bishop of Taunton, one of the key speakers at the St Paul’s event says, “What we need to do is to really listen to the needs of local people. Very often leaders think they know what’s best for a local community; actually mostly it’s the people who live here that know what’s best for them. We need to listen to those stories, celebrate the successes and deliver some change where it’s needed.”
It’s a view shared by Jacqui Ford Vice Prinicipal of Weston College, “If we’re going to meet the needs of our community we all need to come together and work in partnership, so that we have no duplication and we make sure that we reach every person in the community by pooling our energies, our efforts and our funding.”
It’s hoped that increasing that connectivity and building closer relationships between and across all sectors, will allow Weston-super-Mare and its residents to grow and prosper for many years to come.