Shaped by People – local citizens celebrated at the LGC Awards

we make our places what they are

Our commitment to working with and alongside citizens so that more people can shape their local place has been celebrated at this year’s LGC Awards.

People and organisations in local places across Kirklees worked together to create Shaped by People – a new shared goal which describes, in citizens’ own words, how things would be if more people felt able to influence what happens in their place.

Local people have shared their personal stories about getting involved in their neighbourhoods, to help everyone learn what helps people to take part.

The aim is for more people to feel able to get involved in their community and for organisations like ourselves and our partners to do the things which matter to local people.

The LGC Awards are the UK’s biggest celebration of innovation and achievement in local government, and an opportunity for councils to learn from each other’s work. Shaped by People was one of a handful of Community Involvement projects recognised nationally.

Our work towards Shaped by People is coordinated by the Democracy and Place Based Working service. Practical programmes already underway include ‘How Good Is Our Place?’ which enables communities to lead conversations about their local place, hearing each other’s experiences and ideas for the future. Over 9,000 people have taken part so far. Funding is available from Kirklees Council to act on these ideas.

Democracy Friendly Schools is a free programme, open to all schools in Kirklees, which helps children and young people learn about – and be an active part of – local democracy and civic life.

Shaped by People was created in partnership with the New Citizenship Project.

It’s part of ongoing work to strengthen local democracy in Kirklees, based on learning from local people. Citizens are encouraged to share their experiences to help measure progress.

Cllr Cathy Scott, Deputy Leader of Kirklees Council and Cabinet Lead for Housing and Democracy said:

“For us, everything starts with citizens. We know that people are doing some amazing things to shape our local places. We’re learning how and why people get involved, so that we can enable even more people to take part. Our teams are here to support citizens of all ages to make good things happen in their local place. This includes working with young citizens through our Democracy Friendly programme. We know that not everyone feels involved and listened to. This ongoing work is about changing things for citizens today and for future generations. Thank you to everyone who is taking part.”

Jon Alexander, Co-Founder of New Citizenship Project and author of ‘CITIZENS: Why the Key to Fixing Everything is All of Us’, said:

“We’re really proud of the work we’ve done with people in Kirklees. We believe that, given the right opportunity, people can and will shape the things that matter to them for the better. If our organisations become more participatory and citizen-led, and if we all think of ourselves as citizens who can come together to get things done, then so much is possible. We have loved meeting people in Kirklees and hearing their inspiring stories. We’re excited to see what happens next.”

People who have a story to share about community action in their local place, and groups who would like to talk about their experiences of getting involved, are invited to get in touch. Visit: www.OurStoriesOurPlaces.org or email: Democracy@Kirklees.gov.uk
A video animated version of ‘Shaped by People: We make our places what they are’, in local people’s words and voices, is available at: