Quality of Life?

Dear All,

I would like to canvas opinion on what people consider are the most important factors in achieving and maintaining quality of life - particularly (but not exclusively) in terms of life in Wivenhoe.

We have all seen and heard some fanciful and whimsical presentations of community focused ideas, (many, if not all of which have sponged up a lot of money and achieved little) but I have a genuine interest in what people think at a fundamental level.

Hopefully we can have some meaningful and cohesive dialogue here.

Please indulge me if you would by trying to keep it:

1. Non-political. 
2. Not the usual begging-bowl drivel where the only answer is to throw more money at it from some virtual central pot.

In other words, how could we make Wivenhoe an (even) better place to live without asking for outside help?

Many thanks.

Comments

  • Glyn, perhaps I could start the ball rolling by suggesting:

    a) understanding what we have here (the many community buildings and facilities, green spaces, and the natural environment)
    b) valuing what we have in terms of facilities (perhaps by comparing to what others don't have, in say other parts of Colchester)
    c) recognising what we could do to improve by keeping Wivenhoe more tidy, improving our sporting facilities, and expanding our community buildings so that an even broader range of activities can flourish.

    The one thing I don't think we can do anything about is the number of cars. People will just have to keep on moaning them but it does sometimes seem to me that we are never truly happy unless we have something to moan about !! 

  • For me...

    Some of my QOL markers for where I live that spring immediately to mind are:

    Ease of access to public open space
    Good public transport
    quality and varied groups and events in the community - music and culture is particularly important to me
    ease of access to daily living necessities (food, drink, medicines, healthcare etc..)
    Access to local employment opportunities
    opportunities for kids of all ages
     Clean and tidy environment and to be around people that feel the same and take quiet pride in where they live (minimal litter/flytipping etc..)

    Although you said check your politics at the cloakroom... I have a social conscience and it's important to me and my QOL that others in my community do to.

    We have an awful lot of that list above here in Wivenhoe and it's why I chose to make it my home.

    what could improve my QOL here that wouldn't cost the earth?

    more local shopping opportunities... Perhaps the expansion of the farmers market to become just a 'market' - bring in traders to fill some of the gaps for lost businesses (hardware stall, record dealers, fish, etc..) 

    i'd really like to see something happen with Cedrics site... and sooner the better. I'm getting the sense that the co-op have just land banked it to keep it's hold over Wiv (I quite like the co-op ... But it's more expensive than waitrose!) ... The least they could do is chuck some investment into the site and help business and the community thrive further.

    I love it that community players in Wivenhoe create their own grassroots opportunities where there is a need.... (Moving image, funny farm, etc...) but I wish there was further focus on brining existing opportunities with the borough/district to Wivenhoe. Some arts outreach from the uni or firstsite for kids and bringing pro/sponsored skaters to the park are easy examples that Spring to mind.

    Althoughwe've not got a leisure centre charter hall or arts centre.... The William loveless could be made such better use of. With occassional touring bands being accommodated (we know there's a gig going community here right? - with a bit of innovation and work this could generate income for WTC) and even traveling 'soft play' centres being bought in (manningtree just did this in half term just gone) .. Again two examples that Spring to mind.

    ... That's my tuppence worth... For now!


  • Thank you both very much. Really appreciate the time taken for these considered comments.

    Keep 'em coming folks!

    PS - Thanks also for the Social Conscience comment. The type of political comment I think we would like to avoid is the partisan type which can make threads like these adversarial and much less consructive.

    Whilst I expected most of the comments to be around what we might like to have, it would also be great to hear - as we have already - what we might like to do and how we might like to live.
  • Wivenhoe has a lot of organisations which rely on volunteers.  Would it be a good idea for Wivenhoe to have a register of people who would like to do some voluntary work and a register of bodies looking for extra volunteers?  Colchester has the Colchester Volunteer Centre but this is Borough wide and something which focussed on the needs of Wivenhoe could be useful.  The Parish Paths Partnership is seeking people to help with keeping our footpaths clear and I think Helping Hands possibly needs more drivers and I suspect the Youth Club would like additional helpers.
  • Nice one @poopdecker. I will keep a log of all these ideas.

    I should probably say that it is perfectly ok to put forward ideas where we can trade favours, ideally to the extent that everyone gains from such bartering. We should accept that for some, spare time is relatively short and that there may  need to be a return on time invested.
  • For me quality of life is all about 'balance'. That is perhaps a touch abstract, but a personal example would be my choice to give up commuting to a very well paid job in London and venture out into the far less secure realm of self-employment. Somewhat naively I had hoped this would free up time, and whilst the reality of running ones own business does not always facilitate that, it has certainly lead to a work life that is more personally satisfying on so many levels.
    However, one of the things lost in the course of becoming a sole trader is regular contact with colleagues with whom one can share issues, concerns, knowledge, ideas and so on, and this is one of the reasons I do business networking - to improve the quality of working life.

  • Anything we can do to encourage all kinds of networking (be it business, hobbies or friendship) will help to prevent social isolation which from recent medis reports seems to be growing in all age groups lately. Such a sad thought. We need more ideas for bringing people together. 
  • Yes, and maybe some kind of definitive directory of local clubs/groups (of all kinds), which would not only inform people of what is available, who to contact and so on, but might also show where there are gaps in the market for new ventures....

  • All great contributions folks. Thank you.

    There is a purpose to this survey and there will be action points arising from it.
  • I have an idea developing which would address both Daisy and Adrian's points as well as some others.

    I'll post an outline on here soon.
  • The best things seem to happen in Wivenhoe when people who might not necessarily know each other communicate and cooperate. I've seen this happen both when people in local pubs or at events respond to assist with some sort of problem (for example a few years ago the Help for Heroes minibus transporting a group of injured services men and women to watch Wivenhoe Funny Farm got stuck in the mud outside the venue and just about everyone able bodied enough to get out and help did so - despite getting wet and muddy) or when people use social media constructively (either on the forum or facebook etc) to help others (for example cleaning up the grafitti on the One Stop). I think valuing and using both our public and cyber spaces for communication would be great. Things like the Bike Kitchen and Repair Cafe show examples of how we can come together in person locally for the common good - maybe having something similar to the Farmers Market but where local groups and trades-people could be available to offer advice/assistance in person (therefore advertising their skills or events) would be a good way of nurturing the community spirit we have in Wivenhoe?
  • Many thanks Hazel. Over the weekend I will set out things in a bit more detail as to what the project hopes to achieve.

    Please keep these suggestions coming. Of course, not everyone will have the same view on the most important aspects involved in Quality of Life, so the more different perspectives there are, the richer the discussion will be for it.
  • Many years ago I ran a community exhibition in the WL Hall to which I invited all of our many groups and organisations to have a table and promote themselves and hopefully gain a few more members. A lot of residents came to it. There is a lot which goes on here. I am tempted to organise it again if there was a demand for it. What do people think?
  • Great idea PeterH! 
  • PeterH said:
    Many years ago I ran a community exhibition in the WL Hall to which I invited all of our many groups and organisations to have a table and promote themselves and hopefully gain a few more members. A lot of residents came to it. There is a lot which goes on here. I am tempted to organise it again if there was a demand for it. What do people think?
    I like this and have been part of similar before moving to Wivenhoe.  Where I lived it was done as part of the local summer festival and I think that worked well.  Making it part of an existing event contributed to footfall both ways, and since many local groups were involved in local events, they were already at the festival anyway.  And some of their work/interests were showcased through the festival.  I think a "community marquee" type addition to an existing (and established) community event would reach more people than a dedicated exhibition, especially to raise awareness of what is out there among the community in general rather than only attracting those proactive enough to make a special outing.
  • Sounds fun -  like a Local Fresher's Fair! :-)
  • Thank you Peter.

    Let's make that happen.
  • Yes Hazel a Wivenhoe equivalent of the Freshers Fair would be exciting as is the Freshers Fair. I was thinking of a title like Discover Wivenhoe.
    There is so much going on here that just makes Wivenhoe such a vibrant place to live.
    Steph is right, getting people down to an event such as this by itself is not likely to get everybody out and to it. There needs to be something else to go with it. Lots of the organisations will have stalls at the Regatta and June Market in St Mary's Churchyard. I wonder about coinciding Discover Wivenhoe with the ArtSeaMusic festival?
    Feedback please?   
  • PeterH said:
    Yes Hazel a Wivenhoe equivalent of the Freshers Fair would be exciting as is the Freshers Fair. I was thinking of a title like Discover Wivenhoe.
    There is so much going on here that just makes Wivenhoe such a vibrant place to live.
    Steph is right, getting people down to an event such as this by itself is not likely to get everybody out and to it. There needs to be something else to go with it. Lots of the organisations will have stalls at the Regatta and June Market in St Mary's Churchyard. I wonder about coinciding Discover Wivenhoe with the ArtSeaMusic festival?
    Feedback please?   
    Yes, absolutely agree. Sounds like the ideal opportunity. Or the Fete on the Field in July. 

  • or perhaps aim for inclusion as a matter of course at local events? For smaller ones maybe on table with literature / contact details and blurb, run on basis of "neutrality" to all groups contributing, despite afiliation of volunteers on the day! And then at the bigger ones, maybe a whole section/tent/marquee type thing?
  • I would like to call on all those who consider themselves to be conscientious business people who are open to the idea of sharing ideas and resources with a view to mutual benefit in doing so.

    In order to fit the bill, you need to have the faith to trust in others that they will buy into the spirit of sharing in such a way that we aspire for everyone to be better off for the exercise.

    An example of how such people can help each other might be something like having a small office that os empty for, say, 4 mornings a week that can be hired to someone who wants to use the space during most if not all of those time slots. You take a small rent which you wouldn't have got otherwise and your new tenant has a viable business (or working contract) that might not have been viable otherwise.

    Another example might be that as a natural consequence of going about your business there may be waste that has to be disposed of (often at a price) but sometimes it is only for want of someone who can put the waste to another use. I remember one such case with a client who "disposed of" some high quality plywood offcuts from a die (cutting and creasing) factory and made high end speaker cabinets with it.

    No fees were paid for disposal and Matthew got free raw materials.

    There is a bigger plan afoot but I would like to invite a few business people to a light supper to discuss some ideas and then see if we can build a nice local network from it. Networking never did anyone any harm anyway but if it goes well, we will all come away with at least one nugget as well as a bit of a social.

    Let me know on this thread or via a PM if this appeals or if you will just give it a try.

    I intend to put on some presentations in the near future under the Quality of Life banner so this could be a nice little opener...

    Thanks for reading this far and for comtributions made to this thread.
  • Adrian - Wivenhoe News always (every issue) has a directory of lots of the clubs/organisations and things going on - might be a helpful starting point - they all have contact details etc.
  • adrian said:
    Yes, and maybe some kind of definitive directory of local clubs/groups (of all kinds), which would not only inform people of what is available, who to contact and so on, but might also show where there are gaps in the market for new ventures....

    I think WTC may be revamping its website.  As I suggested on another thread perhaps it could adopt some of the good features of the East Donyland Parish Council website (Rowhedge to you).  This has a list of organisations with contacts and a monthly calendar of events and a news section which includes some information about events (as well as warnings about vermin shooting on MOD land with dates ).
    Here is their website
    http://eastdonylandpc.co.uk/

  • I had an idea to conduct a workshop on Life Skills for youngsters that I could present during the Easter Holidays but I admit that I was slightly discouraged by slow responses to other QOL initiatives.

    The course would have covered skills like: recognising different personality types and being able to relate better to these types and having a better appreciation of your own traits and the effect they can have on others; negotiation skills; recognising body language; active listening, effective communication and time management.

    If there is enough enthusiasm for this I may be able to put something together for the next spring holiday.

    I know that the majority of people feel that they get along fine without sharpening these skills so I would rather run the first workshop for an age group who at least might acknowledge that there are still things that they can learn that will equip them to have a better and more successful life.

    As it seems half the kids are now ready to accrue £30-40k worth of debt to get a degree, I was wondering whether any of them might like to break out of the shackles of "grade slavery" for a couple of afternoons...

    No worries if not.
  • I'm not in that age group and haven't been for some time Glyn, but sounds like a workshop any age group might benefit from. :)

    And thanks for the info @Pip

  • Thanks Adrian. I daren't have suggested a course for adults despite what we sometimes see on this very forum...

    No, I will make it for youngsters initially - with chaperones if required - and hope that the adults they go home to are sufficiently impressed to be at least curious enough as to what has given their youngsters greater confidence.

    I'll put together some modules, post it on here and if enough people are interested I will run it, quite probably with help from other qualified people.
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