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Putting the place in placemaking

60+ people came together to discuss community-led stewardship at a CFO conference on 15 September at Chesterton Community Centre.

Parish and town councillors, developers, county and district council officers and members, and representatives from the voluntary sector heard speakers explore how stewardship has the potential to transform our communities. A grassroots way of responding to and developing hyper-local responses to the challenges facing us, such as the climate and ecological emergency, new development, and how to ensure communities are successful and healthy, community-led stewardship strategies work with, support, and release the skills, experiences and energy of citizens to inspire and develop projects that reflect what local people want and need.

The event officially launched CFO’s new stewardship support service, and introduced the excellent, specialist team which we have pulled together to deliver support: CFO, Wild Oxfordshire, Collaborative Housing, Future Nature, London Development Trust, Place 54 Architects, and Edge Urban Design.

Tom McCulloch and Stephen McKenna from CFO introduced stewardship and set the wider planning and development context. Ross Macken from Eynsham Parish Council then set out what these challenges and opportunities mean in a community context and gave an overview of the community’s own stewardship initiative.  Emily Lewis-Edwards from CFO and Camilla Burrow from Wild Oxfordshire followed up with an exploration of place-based social, environmental, and ecological action and the potential for it to be central to holistic stewardship strategies. Simon Donovan from London Development Trust (LDT) then took us through the theory and practice of the LDT approach to supporting stewardship projects and social sustainability.

Before a final Q+A with all speakers, Tom  officially launched CFO’s new stewardship service. We will be following up the conference by seeking conversations with developers, communities and local authorities to explore on-the-ground stewardship opportunities.

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New CFO service to support community-led stewardship

CFO is delighted to launch a new community-led stewardship support service, created with our colleagues at Wild Oxfordshire, Collaborative Housing, Future Nature, London Development Trust, Place 54 Architects, and Edge Urban Design.

Communities have many assets. These include green and open space, woodlands, community buildings, housing, and many others. Some will already be place and some will come via new development. Long term stewardship means not only managing these assets but creatively harnessing them to build community, resilience, and meet needs.

We have created a dedicated community-led stewardship website, where you can find out more our stewardship vision, meet the Team, and explore case studies.

Tom McCulloch, co-CEO of CFO says: ‘there are major challenges facing our communities, including how to make sure new housing development best works for the local community and supporting place-based social, ecological and climate action. Community-led stewardship offers hyper-local responses to these challenges, working with, supporting, and releasing the skills, experiences and energy of citizens and inspiring creative, aspirational projects that reflect what local people want and need.

CFO believes that many involved in development genuinely want to create places which help people to live healthy and fulfilling lives and which will thrive long into the future. Bringing all stakeholders together at the earliest opportunity to discuss stewardship opportunities will help meet that collective vision. Our new service is designed to do just that.

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