Full workshop report

Vital and Viable Chorlton Inaugural Collaboration Meeting April 2nd 2019, Library Meeting Room(NB not a formal part of the Vital and Viable Chorlton project with MMU)

A lively and enthusiastic meeting was held with representatives from Chorlton Voice; Open Up; Chorlton Traders; Chorlton Connected; Chorlton Community Land Trust; Chorlton Good Neighbours; Chorlton and Whalley Range Dementia Action Group; Age Friendly Whalley Range and Chorlton; Connecting Chorlton; Whalley Range and Fallowfield (health and social care); Friends of Hough End Hall; PN Avenues Residents’ Association; and councillors from both Chorlton and Chorlton Park Wards. Apologies Edge Theatre.

Aims of Workshop:

  1. To explore the possibility of bringing together those groups and parties interested in Chorlton-as-Place

  2. To explore the building of collaborative spirit amongst groups so that we MAY be able to influence developments in Chorlton

Format of the workshop:

  1. Introductions: Our interests in Chorlton-as-Place. 

Each person talked to someone else they did  not know about why they were interested in Chorlton-as-Place. They then hooked up with another pair and tried to find some common gorund of interests in Chorlton-as-Place. The issues groups had in common were shared with the whole group.

  1. Imagining  an alliance or collaboration

Group discussions were held around imagining a future collaboration, building on what there is now, in terms of the questions why, who, how and where. Participants stayed in their groups from the introductory session and considered each of the questions:

WHY – what might the purpose of such a collaboration be?

WHO could or should be a part of the collaboration?

HOW and WHERE might such a collaboration operate (e.g place, time, format…)

The discussions took the shape of a  think-write-share-discuss process. Groups were given large sheets of paper headed by one of the questions, and a pile of sticky notes. Participants began by writing their thoughts and answers to the first question they were given on the sticky notes (without discussing), then placed the notes on a large sheet of paper in turn until all items had been placed. Then they discussed each item. After 10-15 minutes the sheets were passed to the next table and the process repeated for the next question. After 10-15 minutes the sheets were passed to the next table and the process repeated for the last question.

Once all groups had answered each question,  participants were asked to look at the sheet they ended up with and organise the points made on sticky notes into clusters, or groups. Once this was done, everyone moved around the tables to look at all the issues and points made in relation to each question.

  1. WHAT are the next steps? Participants were asked to mix up their groups and each group to consider the question WHT are the next steps and who should be responsible to enacting them. Each group was asked to prioritise 2 next steps for feedback to the whole group

  2. Conclusion – Each group fed back their priorities for the next steps, and there was general discussion about how to take these priorities forward until consensus was reached.

What was the outcome?

  1. There was agreement that a collaboration of community groups and other organisations interested in Chorlton-as-Place would be useful, and it was agreed that a draft aims and objectives of the group would be drafted, widely circulated for comments. People present would use their own contacts with other groups to cascade these ideas.

  2. It was agreed that a list of groups and organisations with an interest in Chorlton-as-Place would be useful to compile and that this might lead to mapping these groups across Chorlton at a later stage. Once again, this list would build on the contacts of those present.

  3. There was keen interest in engaging people from across Chorlton, including those not in groups.



To build on and bring together the different groups and organisations with an interest in Chorlton-as-Place

To be an independent point of contact with regard to developments in Chorlton

To strengthen ties between groups and organisations with an interest in Chorlton-as-Place.


To be:an umbrella organisation to give a single voice to decision makers

To co-operate: to tackle local issues in a joined up way through the sharing of ideas; create a sense of belonging to people, place and activity; to share ideas, experience, even equipment

To take opportunities: to seize the opportunities of proposed developments as they arise;  facilitate a fast response network; create a more secure, sustainable future for local businesses and their customers;  make the most of compatible events and opportunities;

To empower: to gain power and control through having a joint voice;  lobby and campaign knowing that as broad across section as possible have contributed; operate as a pressure group as needed; align around a common vision for Chorlton; influence developments and decision makers and provide information to them on living in Chorlton

To learn: to meet and share  ideas, problems and solutions;  learn from each other; articulate community knowledge from the grass roots;  enable as many people as possible to understand local development s as they arise;  work together to design some principles for developments in Chorlton

To include: to reinforce togetherness and undermine divisions; feel connected and being a part of something; foster friendship; build cohesion in the community; encourage people to participate in a group that reflects their interests


Two broad approaches emerged, not necessarily mutually exclusive but they require different actions and may affect the aims and objectives.

  1. Existing groups and organisations

  • traders

  • local police

  • ‘anchor’ institutions (GP practices, primary and secondary schools)

  • residents’ associations

  • Homewatch groups

  • Chorlton Good Neighbours

  • Merseybank CA

  • existing community groups

  • campaigning groups

  • cultural groups

  • faith group leaders

  • Chorlton Voice

  • young people’s group

  • ‘friends’ groups

  • cultural group leaders

  • social housing providers

  • MPs

  • elected members (councillors)

  • Andy Burnham

  • MCC Neighbourhood Managers

  1. Everyone who has an interest in Chorlton-as-Place (need agreement what is the ‘place’ – centres, estates, school catchments, patient populations…)  – intergenerational, inclusive, diverse.

  • Landlords,

  • Shoppers and residents

  • People from every ‘community’ – including Arrowfield, Merseybank, Chorltonville

  • Homeless and disenfranchised

  • Pubs, clubs

  • Tourists

  • Parents

  • Age groups (older and disabled residents often don’t  get their voices heard but they are there

  • Home care organisations and care providers (eg Home Instead)

  • Those on electoral register

  • Transporters

  • Artists

  • Co-workers and self employed (could use empty spaces)


Two broad approaches emerged, broadly mapping onto the two groups identified in the WHO?section. They are not mutually exclusive and some points overlapped. They could be thought of as different steps and they may affect what the Aims and Objectives are.

  1. Bring together existing groups.

Suggestions for overall structure included:

  • Chorlton Voice (Civic Society) and/or Traders could convene on a quarterly basis

  • Chorlton Voice as the disseminator of information to other groups

  • Virtual group of existing groups as part of a mixed approach

  • Monitor effectiveness


  • Structured discussion to maximise contributions and creativity

  • Make it fun and engaging

  • Use social marketing – ‘this is your Chorlton..’

  • Regular – but not necessarily always in meetings

  • Online information resource, calendar, newsletter or blog

  • Conferences or conventions

  • Need ‘Chair’ to lead any discussions

  • Ad’ in Open Up


  • Library

  • Move around the different parts of Chorlton

  • Cafés

  • Faith spaces

  • NB Group could become very large

  1. Get wider participation – lots of ideas.


  • There is no one method of bringing people together – are lots of toolkits.

  • Engagement is always a problem – need flexible engagement so all can speak

  • Make it fun and engaging

  • Arts and culture

  • Use means of capturing diverse voices

  • Use social marketing – ‘this is your Chorlton..’

  • Use Chorlton Facebook groups

  • Online information resource, calendar, newsletter or blog

  • Advertising to bring in a wide range of folk – trees, posters, shops, leafletting

  • Market stalls for promotion

  • Posters inlocal GP

  • Ad’ in Open Up

  • Chorlton Voice newsletter

  • Take over empty shop in Precinct  with volunteers to talk to people

  • Leaflets (1000 A6 for  £20, can get funding from MACC, Neighbourhood Investment Fund , Lottery)but not necessarily always in meetings

  • Conferences and/or Conventions


  • Chorlton Library – may be too small

  • St Ninians and other faith spaces

  • Make it moveable – ‘bumping into’ places

  • Pop-up or Roving around a variety of locations in  the 3 or 4 Chorltons

  • The Edge

  • Disabled access

  • School Halls

  • Community space as part of new developments

  • Community café

  • Facebook, Twitter

WHAT are the next steps?

There was wide agreement that (i) creating an umbrella group to coordinate existing groups across Chorlton and (ii) wider engagement of the people of Chorlton is worthwhile. Whilst there is considerable overlap, the two strands could be separated.

  1. Coordination of existing groups – Chorlton Voice could lead on this?

  • Cascade ideas from this workshop to other groups

  • Form a steering group to maintain the continuity – light touch and minimum structure to make it work (maybe of those who attended workshop)

  • Draw together a coalition of interested groups. This could be convened by, for example,  Chorlton Voice, Chorlton Traders (although this groups does not cover all of Chorlton)?

  • Work with Neighbourhood officers to contact groups

  • Hold a follow up meeting with wide invitations to groups across Chorlton – maybe in more than one venue in order to refine and agree aims and terms of reference for the umbrella group

  • Make contact with Whalley Range Community Forum in order to learn from them

  1. wider engagement of the people of Chorlton – Chorlton Connected could lead on this?

  • Hold community festival or fun day  on Wilbraham Rd for Great Get Together – June 23rd –  include arts, greenery, and Precinct – to get people engaged and enthusiastic ahead of any further developments for the Precinct –

  • Encourage and support Open Street days (like Chatburn Road)

Both (i) and (ii) unclear who will do this?

Create database of interested parties and groups

Map existing groups – take over Council job of collating information or support neighbourhood officers in enlarging their database – and provide it to library and Council and Open Up magazine

Use Open Up magazine

Chorlton Voice agreed to report on the workshop and circulate a draft aims and objectives of a future alliance between groups.