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.