CITIZENSHIP - Society and Education | Participant contributions at the 22nd April online People's Assembly

We've sorted rich flood of ideas and vision elements shared into four broad groups; you can access the other groups – and a catch-all group - below.
Transport, public, private and active
Community, community hubs and spaces
Land, nature and housing
Other topics & ideas

It's been hard to separate 'Citizenship, Society & Education' from 'Community' as there are many overlaps. For the moment some ideas are in included in both sections, and we've deliberately left all near-duplication to emphasise the most common themes.

Citizenship & Society
• Let's have a cleaner, greener society where we're all doing our best to reduce emissions.
• Return to a simpler life.
• Councils must respond to local people and engage with them by asking questions and listening to what people have to say. PAs may be one way of enabling this. Good to give people a voice, but important that that voice is being heard by the right people. There is no longer a town council office in Leatherhead so local engagement reduced.
• Ensure there's a way of monitoring progress on targets in Surrey Climate Change Strategy to make sure things do happen – a way of holding to account.
• Council to recognise and utilise community visions and the willingness of the public to engage in all forms - from litter picking volunteers to local groups with expertise in many fields, town and rural as a resource.
• Awareness of people's needs.
• A legacy for nature and close community: a supportive network to enrich people's lives.
• Change takes so long – who can we hold to account? Need to be able to hold people/council/government to account.
• Local elections are short term – how can we get long-term support for action?
• Do we achieve change within existing structures or alternative? When is protest valid to be listened to? How radical do we have to become?
• More interaction between communities and councils; councils need to ask questions and really listen. Have PAs with power to deliver.
• Our voices are heard by the right people, in the right place – concerning the environment where we live. Have PAs with the power to deliver – engaging and empowering communities. This needs collaboration between people and council, we are all involved and must share a wider, more shared responsibility.
• How change can be achieved locally when we need the right policies from national government to support and fund councils and communities.
• The 1942 Beveridge report set out a post war plan for recovery despite the country's debt: Government & Local authorities should be planning similar action now for the future.
• People being able to articulate the change they want to see happen, the PA gives greater democracy; it is a light bulb moment for ordinary and diverse people who want to change things in their community.
• The May elections are soon and although many councillors have the good of the community at heart, they really don't get it. We need to inform them in a non-political way how to make better decisions, so we can get together to pool energy and enthusiasm.
• A more proactive and infrastructural approach to decarbonising the area; a coherent plan/agenda for Surrey - for/by the people rather than the council etc who haven't been able to make things happen thus far.
• What principles on what we want from environment and how to achieve e.g. Dorking council buildings.
• Communities being able to come together across political divides to tackle environmental problems together.
• Local councils to be better at engaging in "blue-sky thinking".
• Surrey to have less economic inequality.
• A universal basic income and rehousing homeless people.
• A culture of kindness and community support, with a Scandinavian style of public policy and a more socially conscious population.
• A goal to eradicate poverty in Surrey by 2030 as a "moral obligation". Give children and young people a good start in Surrey and have the opportunity and desire to stay in Surrey as they grew older.
• Put forward a goal for every inhabitant of East Surrey to have a voice and be listened to by 2030.
• A wider group of people to have agency over how land is managed and developed.
• People's Assemblies become a regular and normal way to decide things and spur politicians to listen to the will of the people.
• Build a good community model: Community is a really important component and is not really working properly. The Scottish have a community councils model, where it acts as a voice for their local area. [This may be it: ]

• Education gives the possibility of choices.
• People need to be aware of the impact their diets are having so they can make better decisions.
• Engage and involve young people.
• Children should all be taught Philosophy in schools at all ages, it should be part of the curriculum; this, along with practical natural history and a moral code would create the necessary mindset of future citizens who care about the environment.
• In schools there needs to be a totally different emphasis on taking responsibility as a future citizen; there should be training for pupils alongside local councillors.
• Use education as a good way of solving poverty. The adult education centre in Dorking has been empty since I've lived here - a wasted resource. More learning opportunities = more employment opportunities.
• Digital exclusion has come to the forefront, particularly for access to education, to employment, to information, to deals where everything has gone online. + so much tech is binned/ built in obsolescence. Move refurbishing and redistributing technology up the agenda, e.g engaging with businesses.
• Used to teach at adult education in Dorking and it was tremendously important. Evening classes for adults impacts their children too. Government changes for all.
• Need to raise awareness in schools, have people in to talk about which groups people could join – need encouraging by outside speakers to get on board.
• Increase in sports to promote health & centres should provide significantly cheaper rates for young people. More inter-school competitions.
• Provision of inter-school clubs (e.g. chess) to encourage socialising.
• No more disconnect between us and nature. More education to link us back to the environment and the natural world so we can connect our children to the world around them.
• Very concerned about the future for young people. So much school time has been lost in the pandemic. What future for our children in terms of education and jobs?
• Work, and how and where we work, needs a rethink.
• Help children and families to engage with nature, for example with better foot and cycle paths.
• More programs for growing and sharing food as a community, such as the community garden in Caterham.
• Children need the opportunity to maintain and "own" their schools, taking responsibility for repairs and litter picking. This will give them an understanding of their "impact on the world". Hoped this would reduce littering and not understanding the countryside.
• Students could also "own the curriculum" and have agency in their own learning rather than learning to the exam, making learning exciting and teaching more important things.
• Schools could even have a way of teaching where students learn to teach each other.
• Huge pressure put on primary school children; more focus on creativity and exploring the students' own interests.
• Build respect for wildlife and the natural world:
• Tackle plastic - a critical problem to tackle locally, health.
• Changing hearts and minds, to have changing lifestyles for the better.
• Get involved where you live - that is where we can have most effect
• We need to change the way we think about things. For example, have lovely places to walk so that we don't need cars to travel somewhere else.
• Help our communities to help ourselves.
• A greater understanding is needed of the effects of the environment on us.
• Something different from old style youth clubs. Maybe learning skills such as woodcraft, get involved in litter picks.
• Educate the young to look after the village for the future.
• Deeper change is needed and we need to tap into the love of nature. Start in schools by inspiring compassion for the planet.
• Reduce fossil fuel burning: need advice from experts on how to do this in the home.

A shared vision for 'Citizenship, society and education?

At the end of the 22 April Assembly each breakout room presented the 3 most common themes from their participants' contributions. Here's a Vision Statement based on those 33 summary elements; that vision can be made much richer by inclusion of the detail from above.

It's 2030 and we're not there yet, but there are definite signs that we're moving on from a consumption-based society.
Community (sometimes micro-community) ownership, originally of cars, has spread to many other capital items. Young entrepreneurs are running a variety of re-use, repair and re-purposing schemes. Over-packaging has been eliminated, with local manufacturers and supermarkets all playing their part. Every town has its own recycling site – and everyone is very aware of the costs associated with waste.
Attitudes and aspirations continue to change as mid-lifers pick up on the inter-generational learning opportunities and catch up with today's better educated young adults. Responsible citizenship has been a core curriculum subject for years and is paying off.

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Tuesday, 31 January 2023