Volunteering with the Forum
Wednesday, June 23rd, 2021
The Forum’s Contribution
Few would disagree that local policing resources are scarcer than ideal, and that goes probably also for many other public services. That’s why our communities are healthier when the jigsaw of services, service providers, organisations, volunteers and residents works together effectively.
Since 2018, Chiltern & South Bucks Policing Issues Forum, and its predecessors, have been helping enhance communication between residents and our Neighbourhood Police. Our quarterly surveys of residents’ concerns inform decisions on focus areas for Neighbourhood Policing teams, and the subsequent meetings with senior Thames Valley Police officers and other guest speakers have been received enthusiastically by residents.
A Summary of the Forum’s Objectives
- to support the process for identifying and setting areas of focus for the Chiltern & South Bucks LPA Neighbourhood Police teams.
- to provide a platform for meaningful engagement between local residents and Neighbourhood Police teams.
- to promote community engagement, and encourage involvement by individuals, businesses and other stakeholders within the area.
- our overall goal is to make the Chiltern & South Bucks community more resilient, and for Chiltern and South Bucks to be a better, safer place to live and work.
Following the move to a unitary Buckinghamshire Council in 2020, the scope of the Forum has increased:
- the individual Chiltern and South Bucks Community Forums have been pulled together into a single Chiltern & South Bucks Policiing Issues Forum;
- the 7 Buckinghamshire Council Community Boards across the Local Policing Area will now be able to call on the Forum’s survey responses to add to their understanding of residents’ concerns.
This will make the work of the Forum more valuable, but also more challenging. 674 responses to our latest survey were sufficient to set robust Neighbourhood Policing focus areas. But for the future more, and more representative, data will be needed to be useful across 7 individual Community Boards.
Exciting Opportunities for Volunteers
Additional volunteers can help us meet these challenges. There is a range of interesting and creative possibilities:
- Social media: currently we are on Twitter and Facebook. Would you enjoy strategising and executing campaigns that drive engagement, including with the younger cohort (Instagram? Tiktok?)
- Building engagement with the younger cohort of residents. Not just teenagers, but twenty- and thirty-somethings were significantly under represented in our latest survey. More effective social media may be a part of the answer, but reaching out meaningfully and consistently is a much broader challenge. Indeed, are there potential younger volunteers willing to help?
- Helping develop a useful working relationship with Community Boards. Do you take an active interest in your local Community Board, or would you like to? If so, would you consider being a ‘champion’ for the Forum, perhaps volunteering to join a relevant sub-group?
- Spreading the word via local residents’ groups, Councils, publications etc: the Forum already contributes a monthly page to YourChesham and YourAmersham magazines, and ad hoc articles for others. We are always happy to present at meetings, depending on availability. If you are a member of a local network that you feel would be glad to hear from us, please feel free to put us forward.
- Web content ‘subject experts’: the website promotes surveys and meetings, and we also post information which we feel would be helpful to our overall goal of addressing residents’ concerns, signposting services and making for a healthy, resilient community. Do you have a passion for combatting a certain area of harm, and could you be a ‘subject expert’ to develop certain themes in greater depth – maybe scams, domestic abuse, promoting Speedwatch, NHW, litter etc.
- E-mail list management: if you have experience of a mail platform such as Mailchimp, could you help manage our e-mail list?
- Meetings management
- General support, by being added to the mailing list, spreading the word and sharing news of the Forum, especially at survey time.
How to contact us
Our ambition is that volunteers should share our sense of contributing valuably and creatively for the community, as part of a happy and inclusive group. If at least one of these areas arouses your interest, please e-mail us (with no obligation!) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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