South Skipton community project

A project to improve the efficiency of existing service provision and engage more with the community in the Greatwood and Horseclose area of Skipton.


Improved efficiency of existing service provision and engagement with the community.


Greatwood and Horseclose estates in Skipton.


To make the Greatwood and Horseclose area a great place where people are proud to live and enjoy, and where everyone has the opportunity to achieve his or her fullest potential.


The needs for the community were evidenced through national and local spatial statistics, feedback from agencies delivering on the estate and the community itself. Traditional consultation techniques have been extensively used and have largely only ever resulted in a small percentage of the estates contributing their views. There was a clear need to try something new.

At the beginning of the process there was a mapping exercise carried out and co-ordinated by Craven District Council. This asked all the agencies, organisations and individuals responsible for any form of delivery on the estate to map their contributions and the assets available. Whilst this included delivery agencies it also included community based groups such as the 'knit and natter' group and the dream scheme for young people. The results informed the steering group and led to further community based discussions on what was needed with the residents association and estate committee. There were clear strengths in the community from existing vibrant use by community groups but the population was largely static and there was widespread feedback that it was hard to engage with the majority of residents.

There was a clear focus on the under use of the community centre and poor awareness and take up of activity offered by external services and agencies. This was also reiterated by youth consultation feedback, saying there was little in the way of a youth offer and a marked reluctance to go into the community centre.

The long-term goal is to improve efficiency of existing service provision and engage the community.

A film and consultation process was selected following assessment as there was considerable consultation fatigue. There was also an evidenced need to boost the online presence and improve communication within the community, pointing towards a tool that could be used online and would facilitate a wider presence in social media.

To begin the process the project has commissioned a series of films provoking conversation, interest and debate about the Greatwood and Horseclose estates. The clips will aim to raise expectation and interests in future projects; encourage a greater online presence in the community; and encourage greater ownership and a positive start to the South Skipton programme from the community itself. Community members were filmed for twelve topic based clips. These have formed the basis of a six month consultation campaign aimed to stimulate further debate and interest from the community.

The community held a photo walk where conversations were generated about living in the community and photos taken highlighting the assets and positive images of the community. These photos were then uploaded to the website.

A letter was sent to all households asking them to nominate other community members for personal achievements. The nominees were then awarded a prize and fed into the project their thoughts and views of the project.

The South Skipton project is still in its early stages and the film based consultation approach has just reached the end of phase one. The community are involved through regular updates to the estate committee and resident's association and community members also feature in the film. The outreach events have also focused on engaging with the community and building the conversation. Young people have been consulted in a series of youth consultation events run in partnership with North Yorkshire Youth.

Phase two will include a consultation campaign using the film clips to spark further debate and engage the silent majority of the estates, together with the wider Skipton community by using a retail unit in Skipton to promote the films, and online discussion using social media and a community based film launch. So far it has been encouraging to see how well people have responded to the film and agreed to contribute. We far exceeded our targets in engaging the community in this first phase and we hope this will continue.

We are proud of the community itself, the resilience and personal stories of individuals on the estates and the commitment of key community activists. We were also particularly struck on how the Polish community feel welcomed into the estate and the role of the community centre in supporting this. Some of this is shown in the film clips and is a great representation of the potential that exists on the estates. Despite facing considerable personal adversity, people show remarkable capacity to respond, change and adapt. They also show a willingness to help each other which is admirable. The role of this project is to really celebrate these examples and help to raise expectations outside of the estate and support personal aspiration from inside the estates.

We are also really proud of the range of steering group members who have all contributed to this process, there is a willingness to try new things, improve efficiency and innovate to achieve breakthrough. There is also a commitment to the long-term which in the context of budget cuts, short-term funding and external pressures is encouraging. For example, the steering group have signed a data sharing protocol and accessed spatial information on the young people and their achievements at secondary school. The results show a glass ceiling for young people growing up on the estates and highlight a need to engage with mainstream education providers to make more targeted support for the young people from the estate. This is a good example of the value of cross sector steering groups such as this one and the potential impact.

Contact details

Jemma Basham, Greatwood and Horseclose project coordinator

Greatwood and Horseclose Community Centre,
North Parade,
BD23 2SR

Tel: 07831 608202