Forgive me if I’m rather excited about this, but if you’re a Queen Edith’s resident, over the next few days you should be getting the relaunched issue of “Queen Edith’s Community News” through your letterbox. I’m hoping it’s a small but vital step towards making Queen Edith’s the most informed part of Cambridge – to go with being the best part to live in, of course. Let me explain what’s going on.
I’ve long believed that engaging people in their local community, and making local events successful, is all about communication. And it’s clear that there’s a lack of communication locally. In 2015, nobody should have to resort to pinning posters to railings to let others know what’s going on.
I started this blog a couple of years ago to discuss local issues. Although the blog only gets read by a few hundred people, that’s already more than just about anything else around here. Consequently, I started to get approached by local organisations to publicise their events. This wasn’t what I wanted the blog to do, but I began to consider how a local events guide could be created.
Something through your letterbox
On the web and through email, that would be easy. But nothing beats having something printed pushed through your letterbox. At that point I remembered having seen a local newsletter, “Queen Edith’s Community News”. I wondered who published it, but the first few residents who I mentioned it to didn’t even know what I was talking about, so it was clear that distribution was not widespread.
Eventually I tracked it down to an organisation called the “Queen Edith’s Community Forum”, which was largely run by the selfless souls behind our local churches, with input from some of our past and present local councillors. I approached the Forum to ask if they’d be interested in teaming up with my proposed local events website, only to find that the organisation happened to be considering its future. They’d actually be open to any ideas for the newsletter, and indeed the whole Forum itself.
Coincidentally, two other local residents who are interested in community development, Sam Davies and Rebecca Jones, were making enquiries along the same lines. You can guess the rest. Before we knew it, Sam had offered to take over the chair of the Queen Edith’s Community Forum, and Rebecca and I had offered to take over Queen Edith’s Community News. This was only a few weeks ago.
We’re quite proud of how it’s turned out
How the Forum will move on is open to discussion between new and existing members. We’d love some other residents to join in, whether or not it’s in a defined role (we’ll probably eventually need a new treasurer, for example, if anyone’s done something like that before). As for Queen Edith’s Community News, we discovered that there was sufficient budget for another issue this financial year, but it had to be published quickly. So the issue you’ll be receiving in the next few days will not be dramatically different from its predecessors, but we have managed to produce something – and we’re actually quite proud of how it’s turned out. We’ve also managed to arrange for it to be delivered to every home in Queen Edith’s – all 3,000 of them.
The city council has an excellent fund for community organisations called “Area Committee Grants”, and we’ve applied for support for future issues of Queen Edith’s Community News. Let’s hope they like our plans. Maybe we could make the newsletter more extensive: Rebecca and I could only find space in this issue for a fraction of what’s happening locally. Maybe we could make it more frequent: it’s hard to give dates for events when you’re only publishing three times a year. Any ideas are welcome.
I’ll talk about what we’re going to do online in a later blog post here. In the meantime, however, enjoy Queen Edith’s Community News when you get it, and if you’d like to join us on the new Queen Edith’s Community Forum, and help steer where things go, do get in touch. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org