Gear Up with…Sam Tobin. (And give him advice!)

7th March 2011 by

Two months ago, I posted a blog on the Otesha site outlining my ‘big idea’ for a project in my community as part of Otesha’s Gear Up internship.

Currently, I find myself, behind schedule, in the middle of the mildly scary stage called ‘people research’. The people research is one of the most important stages in the process of developing my project; essentially, it aims to find out what people do and what they want to do; this is essential because, obviously, there’s no point opening up a centre that nobody wants.

In the last few weeks, I have been handing out surveys on the sunny streets of Plumstead and Woolwich (which haven’t been too sunny recently), asking people to donate a few minutes of their time to talk about services in their local area. My surveys looked at what community activities, if any, local residents took part in (for example, a library reading group or religious organisation) and, more importantly, why they wouldn’t take part and what could be provided to help change the situation.

It has been difficult persuading people to spend their time of a cold wet morning standing on the pavement filling out a survey but the responses have been very useful – big thanks to everyone who took part!

The general consensus does seem to be in favour of a new community space in the area, with many respondents dismissive of the facilities provided by currently-existing centres; however, as there are pre-existing community spaces in the area, would the project be more effective focusing on improving their facilities and/or accessibility rather than opening up an alternative. The decision, therefore, becomes about whether to improve the old or begin the new – and that’s where you all come in.

Personally, I am leaning towards the founding of a new centre but, then again, that was my idea all along so I would say that, wouldn’t I? So some some feedback with suggestions and opinions as to what course of action to take would be much appreciated.

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