Council of the Week: Saughall and Shotwick Park
Saughall and Shotwick Park is a Parish to the North West of the City of Chester, Cheshire and is contained within Cheshire West and Chester Borough Council.
It has thirteen elected Members who are elected every four years and it plays a very active role within the community. Members work very closely with residents to help resolve issues and give support to community groups that do a fantastic job of enhancing and improving the lives of residents.
Saughall and Shotwick Park is involved in several improvement projects, including working closely with parents to support and deliver their wishes to improve the local play area and getting external funding to create a Community Sporting Pavillion – to be located on the Golden Jubilee fields. The Council has also received grant funding from WREN and Cheshire West and Chester Council to help deliver the creation of a new Multi – Use – Games – Area.
The Parish Council understands the need for good, clear communication, to help residents to understand what the Council is doing on behalf of the community. They launched their website in 2001 and it provides easy access to the latest news and information whilst promoting the village and its activities.
In March 2013 the Council created a Twitter Account @SaughallPC, which has proved to be an important community engagement tool, providing an instantaneous way of communicating.
It’s important that Parish Councils look at all ways to effectively communicate and engage with residents and how they can draw more residents to meetings. Since the launch of its twitter account, local residents have been invited to provide a live twitter feed throughout council meetings on two occasions. This provided a ‘light-hearted Parishioners view’ of a meeting, which was well received by the community. For two hours it drew the community into the council meeting and helped those that were unable to attend understand a little more about what we do for our community. They plan to do the same at their December meeting.
The Parish Council will also be looking at how they can use social media more effectively, by possibly integrating live questions via twitter into the agenda and looking into filming meetings, either through live streaming or the creation of a You Tube channel.
These all are fantastic efforts to make meetings as accessible as possible and show the council’s commitment to evolving and adopting modern and effective ways of communicating to its residents.