Over the last few months, People’s Voice Media and the EUARENAS project have been using Community Reporting to gather people’s experiences of democracy in towns and cities across Europe.

Earlier in the project, the team identified different case studies that were examples of ways in which citizens can be more involved in decision-making and their local democracies. The case studies ranged from participatory budgeting initiatives to asset-based community development role outs.

The case studies that we have been a part of are a citizens’ jury project (find out more about what a citizens’ jury is here) that took place in Galway, Ireland called PeopleTalk and The Deal from Wigan, UK – an initiative that aims to redefine the relationship between residents and the Council. With help from the facilitators behind the PeopleTalk project and our colleagues at UEF, we delivered an online session for members of the citizen jury. During this session, jurors were able to catch-up with one another, share their reflections on the project and talk about what has happened since. The jurors helped us to piece together a set of key themes and findings from their stories.

In Wigan, we delivered some in-person and an online storytelling session specifically for residents. At these sessions, residents shared their various experiences of being a resident of Wigan, what aspects of the Deal they have encountered, how the values of The Deal worked in practice and much more. The spaces created a chance for residents to connect with one another, have their voices heard and discuss the similarities and differences in their experiences.

The stories we have gathered that we can share with you publicly, will be online here soon and we’ll be writing up a feature article on the Community Reporter website with the findings from the stories in the next month – we’ll let you know when it goes live! The findings from the stories will be combined with some desk-based research we’ve done earlier in the project on these two case studies and with insights from some focus groups we are doing in the coming months. This combined research (desk-based, stories and focus groups) should give us a full picture of the case studies and enable us to identify key insights into how residents can be more involved in their local area in terms of democracy and decision-making. We’ll be sharing these fuller reports later in the project.

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