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Community and Living

Vibrant Villages Self-Help Toolkit

Are you interested in learning more about how you can make your local community stronger and more resilient and sustainable?

If so, whether you are a Parish or a Town Council, a community group or organisation, or a resident with some good ideas or an interest in your local area, this Wychavon ‘self-help toolkit’ is designed for you.

It gives you easy access to guidance and tools to help you:

Engage with your community to understand their needs and aspirations for new/improved services and facilities – i.e. what’s really important to local people?

Involve residents to identify their housing needs and inspire them to bring forward rural affordable housing and community led housing projects to ensure the homes are right for your local community.

Encourage residents to get involved in their local community by focusing on ‘what’s strong and not what’s wrong’.

Build strong ‘partnership relationships’ with local community groups and organisations, and involve them in setting priorities and planning for the future

Find out where the strengths and assets lie in your community and how to bring people with shared interests and valuable experience and skills together to help ‘make change happen’

Learn how other communities have addressed similar issues and challenges and shared their ‘stories’ with others

Develop a plan to make your community’s ambitions become a reality – ie create a ‘roadmap for the future’ to guide you along the way

Explore financing options for community projects – including learning more about how to ‘prove the need’ to support funding bids

Reflect on how to celebrate your own successes, however big or small!

Next steps – getting started in using this Toolkit  

Have a look at the areas of interest below to access useful resources and hints and tips.

Please share your ideas, suggestions and feedback!

If there’s any help you’d find especially useful but can’t find what you need in the toolkit just email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Engaging your community: surfacing your community’s top issues/priorities and strengths

  • developing a communications plan
  • running a community consultation
  • ideas for community events and activities - and hints and tips on how to run them
  • encouraging volunteering and identifying local ‘community connectors’

Local ‘stories’: These can include both success stories and personal accounts of local experiences and ‘who to contact to discuss their personal experience for informal mentoring

  • village hall projects
  • community shop/café projects
  • children’s playground projects
  • neighbourhood watch projects
  • transport projects etc
  • affordable housing and community-led housing projects

Building a roadmap for the future:

  • There are many ways you can work with your community to consider what you want to achieve and what a ‘roadmap’ might look like. Examples include holding an event to get ideas, visioning what the community could look like in 10 or 20 years and then setting out these ideas into some form to illustrate it to others.
  • Part of your roadmap might include producing a local ‘asset map’. This is a document which sets out all of the local assets available to you e.g. parks, open spaces, village halls, interest groups etc, and considers how these can then be used to address an identified topic.  This is great way to identify all of the ‘strengths’ in your community and how these can be fundamental in making change.
  • You may find it helpful to find out about parish/community plans and how they can help to keep you on track along your journey.
  • Help is available on undertaking a survey for a parish/community plan Consultation and Local Survey Service ( (note that this service is available for all locations)

Finding funding for community projects:

  • Wychavon and WCC grant sources
  • create a profile within the WCC Funding Alerts service and receive regular updates on other funding sources that could support your needs
  • crowdfunding
  • within-community fundraising/‘match funding’ ideas
  • Wychavon District Council funding for community-led housing projects
  • Sign up to Rural Services Network Monthly Funding Digest

Celebrating success

  • Hold a local event to celebrate
  • Acknowledge the work of volunteers
  • Positively use social media to share achievements
  • Keep the spotlight on strengths and welcome ideas on next steps

Rural affordable housing and community led housing

Access to affordable housing is key to supporting vibrant and sustainable communities, particularly in rural areas like Wychavon with high house prices. Find out about your residents need for affordable housing (homes for people on low and modest incomes, who can’t access homes on the open market, either to rent or buy) and interest in community led housing (housing developed by the local community for the benefit of the local community) by encouraging and supporting a Parish Housing Needs Survey of your local community.

Advice can be given by Wychavon’s Rural Housing Enabler and there is a wealth of information available including:

Useful weblinks for further reading

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