The evening event at Exeter Cathedral aimed to launch the concept of ROC in the city but also take steps in identifying needs to be addressed. It attracted over 300 people.
To start the evening off 40 Organisations representing statutory bodies, faith groups, national local charities exhibited the work they do in the city which enabled 100s of mini conversations and valuable networking opportunities to be had.
Aran Richardson, Pastor of Riverside Church, Exeter and one of the event organisers said, “This is an opportunity to bring together local organisations, large and small, to explore how with shared vision and resources we can tackle the challenges of our city and find practical solutions”
This was followed by a more formal evening programme. This included endorsements from guest speakers Assistant Chief Constable Paul Netherton, City Centre Manager John Harvey and Devon Drug and Alcohol Team (DAAT) Manager Kristian Tomblin. Case study presentations were heard from Exeter Street Pastors and PCSO Percy Giles and the ‘Eastside’ youth engagement project. The Digby and Newcourt Community Choir provided musical entertainment and the Twirlers – a local youth talent contest entrant displayed their skills with the baton.
The conversation aspect of the evening involved divided the delegates into small groups where they were sat and from their discussions and a voting system 3 key areas of need were identified for the city which were: 1. Drug and Alcohol recovery, 2. Family Support and 3. Housing and Associated Issues. Individuals were then asked to consider their commitment to these issues by placing name cards into boxes representing each need. As a result over 120 names have come forward.
The evening was vibrant and generated significant interest and momentum. The challenge now is for this energy to make a practical difference to Exeter!
The planning team are now seeking to invite those who have shown their commitment and other key partners in the 3 areas of need identified with a view to holding specific conversation on those issues to identify specific needs and how they can be met in the city.
“This ROC conversation evening is hoped to be a catalyst in drawing together individuals and organisations to explore how by working closer together we can further develop solutions to help tackle the pressing needs of our city. The event is just the start!” said PC Mark Oliver, ROC Ambassador.
For further information about ROC in Exeter contact [email protected]