Some of the most important decisions that affect our lives happen at a local level. In celebration of this, and to help promote the importance and vibrancy of local democracy, Kensington and Chelsea promoted a range of activities in October celebrating Local Democracy Week.
These are just some of the things that residents told us local democracy means to them…
“My voice being heard!”
“Empowerment, Responsibility, Justice, Equality”
“Not always getting your own way.”
During the week, the Community Engagement Team popped up around the Kensington and Chelsea, holding stalls, chatting to residents and providing information on how the Council works and the role of ward councillors.
From the warmth of Chelsea Library to the autumnal gales in the World’s End Piazza and Gloucester Road via a trip to Portobello Road to join our early-rising market stalls friends, we heard both fascinating and insightful comments on people’s experiences of local democracy…
For many, local democracy was about much more that the council or elections, but a whole approach to involving yourself in local life: volunteering, having pride in your community, getting to know your neighbours. For some local democracy was lacking, or didn’t know how to get involved…
We also caught up with a number of councillors over the week, including the Leader of the Council, Cllr Nick Paget-Brown who reflected:
“Democracy is all about people having the ability to change and influence their society. Local Democracy Week is an important way of enabling young people to discover the potential they have to help shape their community”
Councillor Gerard Hargreaves, Cabinet Member for Voluntary Organisations and Resident Engagement
It’s often said that young people are often the most difficult to get engaged with local democracy. So Kensington and Chelsea has been using Local Democracy Week to work with schools, inviting students from Sion Manning School, Chelsea Academy and Holland Park School to “shadow” councillors, learning what they do and how the council works. The shadowing is still underway and we hope to share some of their stories over the coming weeks!
For more pictures of what local democracy means to Kensington and Chelsea residents, visit our Flickr page..