WHAT will you be doing in 2030?
People from all walks of life, and all backgrounds are taking part in an innovative programme of activities aimed at creating a vision of how they all want the Coleraine Borough to look like in 2030.
Called ‘Future Search’, the project has involved two in-depth conferences attended by some 90 residents of the Borough.
Representatives from education, the community and voluntary sectors, business, tourism, the public sector, sport and leisure, young people and a group of Ambassadors who work, live or have a connection to the Borough, were joined by Councilors all charged with charting the way to a brighter, inclusive new future.
The conferences were jointly organised and co-funded by Causeway Chamber of Commerce, Coleraine Borough Council and the University of Ulster and some sessions were facilitated by Sandra Janoff from the USA, who assisted in a similar process in the Derry/Londonderry area which led after time, to the City becoming “UK City of Culture”.
“Attending the Future Search activities were some of my best experiences as a public representative”, said Alliance Councillor Yvonne Boyle.
“I spend much time reading or sitting in one place in meetings in order to make Council decisions. But Future Search used art, drama, and small group discussions, seeking out common ground across many interests. We explored together where we want Coleraine, its area and economy, to be in 2030 and began to believe that that our goals were possible”.
Through laughter, debate and wall charts, participants discovered ten areas of common ground and created 10 groups with action plans to continue the work. These were: renewable energy, image and identity, leadership, education, infrastructure, health, young people, tourism, sports/arts/culture, and business.
The recent Causeway and Rural Network Conference in Portrush, “Are you being served?” on how grassroots community and voluntary sectors can engage more effectively with decision makers, was inspired by the unique process of Future Search, Yvonne pointed out.
“Future Search Champions from our ten interest groups were involved,” councillor Boyle said. “They led an interactive mapping exercise on the input from this sector, with a history timeline workshop putting its development in a local and global context- all very exciting.”
And keeping up the impetus started through the original get-together, local business people have funded a Future Search website called ‘the Hub’ which all the groups can access and to which they can have input.
“The public can also access the website,” councillor Boyle .
“I encourage people to log on and see the exciting plans which groups are formulating and even perhaps become involved by registering their interest. So to get a glimpse of what the future could look like, simply go to:www.causewayfuturesearch.com <http://www.causewayfuturesearch.com/> ”