The Imagine North East Group (of community and university partners) met yesterday (18 March) in St James’ Church, Benwell. We were joined by Kate Pahl who is the Principal Investigator for the whole Imagine project and it was an packed agenda, full of interesting discussions. We started off with an update about each community project from Benwell and North Shields. Some have now finished, whilst others continue, finishing later this year – and already there are a number of spin offs from these projects (lots more about this in future posts!). Andrea Armstrong gave a brief overview of Benwell and North Tyneside CDPs and interview findings related to community involvement. This generated quite a lot of discussion about the state of community development and the voluntary sector now – in a time of austerity.As someone said, ‘You can’t let the voluntary sector go or it’ll be a very different society in 50 years’ time’.
Fred Robinson then gave an overview of the key statistics for Benwell and North Shields from the censuses. This has proved a difficult task, especially getting information from the 1971 census. As Fred said, ‘if you’re asking about the 1871 census for family history, it’s ok, but more recent history is difficult to locate’. Its worrying that more recent history is not being stored and saved securely. Fred also explained about the interviews he has conducted with policy makers.
After a few technical hiccups, we watched a short extract from the Hopes and Fears film produced by the Patchwork project in Benwell. Michael Bell from Patchwork introduced the film explaining, ‘it was based on the idea in youth work where conversation is the main thing. The film Hopes and Fears is based on conversations and research and it’s looking at place and time’.
Finally, Sarah Banks went over the growing number of Imagine events planned for the remainder of 2015 – LOTS MORE ABOUT THESE SOON!