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CVLLP 9: Participation

Project Objective

To encourage and support wide community involvement in the CVLLP activities and projects.

The Participation Project will be supported by two part-time CVLLP Participation officers:

  • CVLLP Community Engagement Officer – Job Description
  • CVLLP Community Grants Officer – Job Description

The participation officers will play two very different roles within the CVLL Partnership. One role will be focused around engagement and empowerment while the other will have a focus around funding and grant management. Although there will be some overlap in the roles it is important to recognise the different skill sets needed to deliver each role effectively. A different job description has therefore been written for each role reflecting this.

Fit to existing strategies and objectives

The involvement and engagement of local residents in identifying local needs and developing initiatives to address them is a key element within the Government’s Big Society approach. It also encourages local communities to work with other agencies which are delivering local services or projects. Thus the Participation Project is consistent with Government policy and is complementary to the measures outlined in the Localism Bill.

At a European level the LEADER approach also supports local communities to generate their own ideas and projects to enhance local services and the quality of local life; Heritage and environment are important aspects of this. Within the UK the framework within which LEADER is set is the Rural Development Programme for England which runs from 2007 to 2013. Of particular relevance to the CVLLP is measure 323 – conservation and upgrading of rural heritage. Linked to this is the West Midlands Rural Delivery Framework objective of contributing to the capacity to develop and maintain voluntary groups and activities. Thus the Participation Project with the Community Grants Scheme fits well with the LEADER approach as it is defined at European level and interpreted at national and regional level.

Comprehensive description of the project

CVLLP Community Engagement Officer will work to build stronger relationships with the communities within the Churnet Valley. His/her work will ensure the communities are aware of and encouraged to take part in the CVLLP projects as they are happening in their area. Within the communities he/she will encourage the development of community based projects and activities which add to the whole partnership, but bring a greater community based flavour to the targets. Support will also be given to apply for funding for these activities with one of the possible sources of funding being the CVLLP delegated grant fund. Community groups will be given support advice and information to ensure their development and continued sustainability. Also the CVLLP Community Engagement Officer will work closely with the training officer (CVLLP 22) to encourage volunteers to take up training courses and to ensure that community projects incorporate training opportunities where appropriate. This work will provide some of the legacy of the CVLLP through increased community understanding, ownership and conservation of the Churnet Valley. This officer will benefit from being based within the same organisation as the volunteer centre where volunteers are recruited from all sections of the community to take part in many and varied activities; these will include all the activities from within the partnership.

The CVLLP Community Grants Officer will be responsible for ensuring the grant panel has representatives from across the Churnet Valley area. They will also ensure that panel members receive appropriate training and support to enable them to participate fully in the panel discussions and decisions. Local community groups applying to the fund will also receive help, support and advice throughout the application process. This project will benefit from the additional knowledge and experience already contained within the grants team. The delegated grant fund has limited funding available and therefore if alternative sources of funding can be identified for projects these will also be suggested to the applicants.

Both these officers will need to have a full understanding of the CVLLP and the individual activities being undertaken within it. Their particular skill sets will be community and organisational development and will work closely with other CVLLP project officers with an interest in conservation and natural heritage being an advantage.

A key CVLLP cohesion project, both Officers will work with the support of the CVLLP Practical Projects Officer and all CVLLP projects, including the annual ‘Big Churnet Valley Pull’.

Who will benefit?

Churnet Valley and other individuals, including all parts of the community within the programme area (and beyond where appropriate).

Also existing and emerging community groups in the area with a specific interest in the CVLLP – helping them to develop and deliver projects either part of, or complementary to, the CVLLP with CVLLP delegated grant funding or other funding sources. Also supporting other CVLLP projects to engage and involve local people in their activities.

Outputs and outcomes

Measured outputs

  • 1000 volunteer days on the big pull
  • 100 community groups benefiting from delegated grants and development support from the CVLLP Community Engagement and Grants Officers
  • 200 community projects supported by delegated grants and the CVLLP Community and Grants Officers
  • 5 community events to be organised, arranged and held with a total of 400 local community members having attended

(Other volunteers recruited and engaged with may be counted by the individual projects, but cross referenced to Participation wherever possible)


  • A greater appreciation amongst local people of the natural environment and heritage within the Churnet Valley Living Landscape programme area
  • A sense of ownership by local people for the CVLLP
  • New activities and resources stimulated and/ or supported through the CVLLP with a legacy of continuing commitment and involvement in the natural environment and human heritage of the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership area

Risks and constraints

Operational risks

Risk: Key staff retention; technical skills and particularly relationships with community groups and other CVLLP workers need to be built up over time, staff recruitment and retention is therefore important.

Contingency planning: Project is over a four year timescale compared to many other projects of 12 to 18 months; this should attract and help retain staff.

Risk: Long term staff absence could affect the success of the project because it has ambitious targets for the project timescale.

Contingency planning: Contingency budget to pay for cover for staff if necessary.

Project risks

Risk: Insufficient take-up of activities by community.

Contingency planning: existing interest in CVLLP from within the community is already high. We are already reacting to the community needs/interests by instigating the ‘Big Pull’ and the delegated Grants Scheme will encourage existing groups to get involved.

Post project risks

Risk: Community involvement within the Churnet Valley Living Landscape significantly reduces when funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund ends.

Contingency planning: All of our community projects that are not single item projects will be delivered:

  • either in conjunction with a CVLLP partner, who by the end of the Heritage Lottery programme will be able to maintain existing volunteer levels within the valley.
  • or where a new initiative springs from CVLLP we will work with the community to help them create a long-term socially sustainable scheme, through either linking them to existing partners; such as Staffordshire Wildlife Trust Local Groups, or setting up independent Friends of Groups with their own constitutions.

Constraints, licences, permits etc

We do not envisage the requirement for any land or heritage based constraints or permissions, outside of the delegated grant scheme (CVLLP11).

Climate change

All of the participation projects will be designed in order to be mindful of climate change and may mitigate such change locally.

Invasive species

The Participation project will co-ordinate the Churnet Valley Big Pull with the support of all other CVLLP partners.


Our Participation Officers will maintain high levels of biosecurity with the community while undertaking projects. They will also work with others to raise the awareness of biosecurity issues within the valley.

Environmental Policy

Reduce travel: The Participation Officers will be based at the SMCVS office in Leek, central to the project area to reduce travel to a minimum and meetings will all be held in the project area.  Where possible site management equipment will be stored in the project area so we don’t need to bring it in from distance.

Efficient travel: There will be a CVLLP dedicated mini-bus available within the overall project which will be used to reduce private car use. We will endeavour to run events and activities close to population centres or along cycleways so that people can attend without using family cars.

Discipline: Project Staff will be expected to comply with the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust Environmental Policy

Overall ethos

Our work with the community will be heritage orientated, but throughout there will be a strong element of sustainability and the potential for people to in include environmental issues in the projects they carry out.