Inputs and involvement from people in their neighbourhood, community and society is really important for policymaking that is effective and responsive. Participation provides vital feedback on the performance of institutions, decision-making, and decision makers, including MPs and Councillors – less of it means they may well perform poorly. People have first-hand knowledge that contributes to understanding of what works and what needs improvement. If we want to help people out locally, change our workplaces, change our country, shape local national or global policy, leave our mark, we have to be active, engaged and take opportunities to be involved.
There are many opportunities – just take a look on the web, through your local paper or in your local library. Talk to your neighbours or local shopkeeper. Community roles are dependent on the ongoing involvement and enthusiasm of committed people of all sorts. They are crucial to achieving and maintaining safe, prosperous and sustainable communities that can be enjoyed by all. Think about some key questions. What are your interests? What are your skills? Do you have particular needs? Do you have a method of transportation? How many hours a week do you have ? Why exactly do you want to be involved? Your answers will help you focus on the most appropriate avenues.
Being involved: feels good; strengthens your community; can strengthen your family when you do things together; it builds a sense of responsibility. It boosts the case for authorities to improve all methods of participation – then the extent to which one person can make a difference is improved. People of different backgrounds, abilities, ethnicities, ages, and education and income levels are brought together. Diverse individuals can be united by common values. Job skills can be gained - learning to work as a team member, taking on leadership roles, setting project goals - and future careers built.