Coleraine signs up to ‘Future Search’

CAUSEWAY Chamber of Commerce, Coleraine Borough Council and University of Ulster are collaborating in a joint initiative to provide a coherent and collective blueprint for an action plan for Coleraine.

Sandra Janoff was in town last week to spearhead Futrure Search, described as a unique planning method used worldwide by hundreds of communities and organisations.

A meeting was held in Coleraine Town Hall last Wednesday afternoon with business representatives to explain the programme’s broad objectives.

Future Search has been used in North and South America, Asia Africa, Australia, Europe, and India to create umbrellas for social, technological and economic planning. It was used to create a One City development plan for Derry/Londonderry.

It’s hoped that the Coleraine Future Search will bring people from all walks of life together for a three day conference in May to chart a way forward for Coleraine.

Sandra said: “The first principle involves ‘getting the whole system in the room’, meaning people with authority, resources, expertise, information and need.

“The second involves putting the focal issue in global perspective, helping each person to see a bigger picture than usual.

“The third requires seeking common ground and desirable futures, while treating problems and conflicts as information, not action items.

“The fourth asks people to manage their own small groups and take responsibility for acting on what they learn. Future Search features working sessions among a wide range of parties who together have what is needed for principled action if they choose to take it.”

It’s hoped that at the end of the conference actions plans and an implementation strategy can be produced.

A Chamber spokesperson said: “The conference in May is one of the many steps we are taking in this journey. There will be many opportunities to get involved, share your thoughts and join in the action. Causeway Chamber, Coleraine Borough Council and University of Ulster would encourage all members, traders, retailers and local businesses to come along and find out how you can make a difference.”

Sandra said that Future Search would change assumptions about a collective way forward for Coleraine: “Many Future Search participants come with justifiable skepticism based on past experiences in unproductive meetings. In Future Search they often will set aside stereotypes and untested assumptions as they discover what can be accomplished in this new setting.

“Most Future Search participants, given access to information, resources, and people in authority who usually are not available all at once, will create effective action plans none of them thought were possible.”

For further details on the initiative email futuresearch@causewaychamber.com.