Community Plan

Priory Community First
Community Plan 2013

1. Background

The Priory ward is L-shaped and contains two distinct areas – Wonford and Countess Wear.

Wonford consists of the Burnthouse Lane estate and Rifford Road which were built by the Council in the 1930s. The BHL estate is bordered by the Ludwell valley. The area has good public transport and amenities include a primary school (rated as outstanding by OFSTED), a supermarket, two pubs, convenience stores, doctors sugery, a Children’s Centre, a Community centre and a Youth Club.

‘Good supply of shops, takeaways,hairdressers, post office’
‘Good bus service’
‘Close to shops and bus routes’
‘Good local amenities – post office, supermarket, parks’
(Comments from Priory Community First Consultation 2013)

Countess Wear consists of the ‘old village’ area which has a Village Hall run privately and a large playing field King George V. This is separated by main road from the Glasshouse Lane council estate which has shops, a primary school, Children’s Centre Youth Club, MUGA (multi-use games area) and doctors surgery and is served by a regular bus route.

At the junction of Wonford and Countess Wear is a secondary school (now known as Isca College but formerly known as Priory High School) which serves both parts of the ward; this is probably the only shared resource/facility in the ward. However the Children’s Centres are both run by Exeter Community Initiatives and the Youth Clubs are both run by Devon Youth Services and there are staff that work in both.

According to the 2010 Index for Multiple Deprivation figures the Trees area of the Burnthouse Lane estate is at 5.9% and Rifford Road at 12.6% in the most deprived in England.
It is for this reason that the Priory ward qualified for Community First funding and this is also the reason that recruiting of Panel members and promotion of the funds has focussed on the Wonford area of Priory.

2. Community Consultation

All of the Priory Community First Panel live in Priory ward and have done so for between 18 months and eighteen years. The Panel was therefore able to use their local knowledge and conversations with neighbours to select the priorities for Year One and Two.

The Panel carried out a community consultation to canvas the opinion of the wider community to inform our future planning and priorities.

Our main consultation event was a free lunch and two consultation activities plus activities for children and local history display at Wonford Community and Learning Centre. This event was advertised in the whole of the ward but it was recognised that Countess Wear residents were unlikely to attend so we later had a stall with the same two consultation activities at the Countess Wear School Fair. In addition the same questions were asked on an online survey accessed via the Priory Community First website. Details of the website are on all our flyers/posters.

One of the consultation activities was asking people to choose which of the previous priorities they felt was most important and to suggest any different/additional priorities.

The order of the popularity of the priorities was the same at the main consultation event in Wonford and the stall in Countess Wear. There were no suggestions for additional /different priorities.

                                                                                    Wonford                          Countess Wear
Activities for young people                                       32%                                           42%

Improve safety of people who need support     29%                                         23%

Promote healthy lifestyles                                        15%                                          19%

Improve environment                                                14%                                          12%

Improve communication                                           10%                                            4%

The Panel found it interesting that adults seemed more inclined to rate ‘activities for young people’ as their top priority whereas young people themselves often selected ‘support for the vulnerable’ as their top priority. Several residents commented on fact that keeping children busy kept them off the streets and that this in turn made vulnerable people more confident to go out.

The second consultation activity was asking residents to write down what is ‘Tops and Pants’ about living in Priory and also asking for their hopes/dreams/aspirations for the area.
It was noticed that items rated by some residents as ‘Tops’ (‘lovely big park’, ‘everyone friendly to each other’, ‘sense of belonging’) were mentioned as being ‘Pants’ by others (‘need a better park’, ‘people are isolated’, ‘not enough opportunities to make friends’).

What residents wanted for the area largely fell into five categories. There were some that can only be dealt with by statutory agencies but others that existing community groups or new community projects could look at addressing.

More activities for children and young adults

Suggestions included:

A graffiti wall
BMX park
Adventure playground
Free/cheaper activities
Play sessions through the holidays
Intergenerational activities
Creative projects eg mural
Improvements to park such as ‘better flooring’ ‘more toddler equipment including trampoline’ ‘more slides’ ‘better climbing frames’ and ‘swings that go higher’!

Improved environment

Suggestions included:

Better lighting
Litter teams
More seating
Improved parks
Hedgerows cut back and grass in park cut more often
Help with gardens for those that need it

People to feel safe and to feel part of the community

Suggestions included:

Increased activities for young people to reduce ‘gangs of kids hanging around on the streets’ and therefore reduce fear of anti-social behaviour
Families to get full support from DCC and ECC
Increasing police presence
Eradicating drugs
More community activities
‘People being kind to each other’

Improve community knowledge/identity/access to information

Suggestions included:

Improving communication within ward so residents know what is going on
More community events giving opportunities to make friends/meet neighbours
Get rid of the ‘bad’ reputation that area has amongst rest of Exeter
‘Being able to read good things about the area in the Echo’ (local paper)
Information for residents on changes to welfare/housing/health

Promote residents physical/mental health

Suggestions included:

A swimming pool
Reduced charges for residents in the Wonford Sports Centre
Ensure there is no parking in cycle lanes
Cut grass and reduce dog mess in park so can play football and other games
More community events to give opportunity to meet others and reduce isolation
Reduce anti-social behaviour
Increased police presence

3. Future Planning

These consultations show that the priorities chosen in Year One and Two do broadly reflect the wishes of the wider community.
However as a result of the community consultation the Panel have decided to make some changes to the wording and scope of the priorities,

The following Priorities are to be focus for Priory Community First in Year Three and Four.

Priority One
Improve the environment
To improve the local environment and help residents to take pride in and a responsibility for their local neighbourhood. To make better use of and take care of the green spaces.

Priority Two
Provide activities for young people
Provide a range of affordable activities for young people with an emphasis on activities that will improve their self-esteem and self-confidence, this can include inter-generational activities which promote understanding and respect between young people and the older generation.

Priority Three
Increase support for vulnerable residents
Increase pride in the area and reduce anti-social behaviour and crime. Look at ways of reducing isolation, reducing fear of anti-social and crime and promoting an inclusive community.

Priority Four
Improve community knowledge/identity/access to information
Increase communication within the ward so that residents know what is happening in their area and how they can get involved. To promote a feeling of cohesion and sense of community. To raise the profile of the area in the media and the wider City.
To help residents gain access to and skills in information and communication technology.

Priority Five
To promote healthy lifestyles
To promote health and well-being within the ward through projects that encourage healthy eating and healthy lifestyles

4. In – kind resources available:

These organisations are supportive of community initiatives and maybe willing to allow use of premises and/ or workers time to contribute and in some cases have already done so.

Wonford Community and Learning Centre
Chestnut Avenue and Countess Wear Children’s Centre
Exeter Community Initiatives Community worker
Phoenix and 100 Club Youth Clubs
Countess Wear Village Hall
Wear United
Wynstream Primary School
Countess Wear Primary School
Isca College
Wonford Methodist Church
YMCA Job Club and detached Youth Work
Exeter City Council Community Development worker
Volunteering Access worker
Wonford and St Pauls (WASP) Youth worker and Office
Police Cadets

In addition the residents themselves are a valuable resource. All of the Community First Panel members are local residents who are giving their time to meet, discuss, plan and make decisions and also to promote Community First.
Many other residents have already volunteered their time/skills/knowledge to the projects already funded.

When asked what was ‘Tops’ about the area comments included;

‘Smiley people’
‘People you can trust who will help you in a crisis’
‘Great community spirit’
‘Everyone helps each other’
‘People are happy’
‘Sociable people’
‘Warm hearted people in the community prepared to go out of their way for other’
‘Helpful people when things are bad’
‘Good neighbours’
‘Everyone friendly to each other’

The Panel feel our role is to continue to encourage this to translate into involvement in local projects.


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