Your places, your way: livebog

10.00: Good morning!  I’m Helen from the communications department and I’m in Castle Park Primary School in Caldicot to liveblog the day.  Live blogging allows those of you who aren’t at  the event to participate remotely and helps facilitate more conversation by giving access to some of the content that might have been missed and a place to discuss it.

I’ll try to capture as much of the atmosphere and interesting stuff as I can.

The big tent events are a new kind of conversation between council officers and people of Monmouthshire.  ’Your places, your way‘ is the first event of this kind where we host a genuine dialogue between staff at Monmouthshire council and the people of Monmouthshire.

We know how important places are to people in Monmouthshire. Whether it’s your neighbourhood, your village hall, the local leisure centre, the library, or your town.

Many of the services the council delivers have an impact or influence over those places, and today is about starting a conversation around the issues that are important to you when it comes to places.

This will be an open space session. That means people here get to decide what they want to talk about. At the end we will decide together what are the most important points from the conversation to take forward.

10.37: We’ve all met in hall the main to decide the agenda for today, and lots of interesting and varied themes have come up once everyone got past their shyness and told the group what they’d like to talk about. Everyone’s broken off into different rooms and spaces to talk about the subject that interests them. I’ll get the list of this morning sessions and post them here.

10.49: As people shared with the group what they’d like to talk about, I took notes:

  • How consultation is done and why it hasn’t worked well enough before
  • Why money is raised in One area but not necessarily spent there
  • Energy use in Monmouthshire
  • What we can do with schools when not in use
  • Empty shops being used until its sold
  • Heritage and history protection and promotion
  • Abergavenny market and what could have been done better on this
  • How business can be helped with good hygiene not just being enforcers
  • What issues matter to young people
  • How annoys people about the services that we use every day
  • Transport between places – how can we do things differently/better
  • How do our high streets and town centres thrive?
  • Devolution and local control – how should local people be involved in decision making and getting things done where they live?

11.02: I’m sitting in on the session with people taking about transport:
Owly Images
One person has said he’s frustrated with local transport being constrained by administrative boundaries – Chepstow to Newport OK but Chepstow to Bristol not so good.

Someone asks if public transport is really about buses – couldn’t it be like a project in America where over 50s who can’t drive their vehicles trade them in to a voluntary group which sells it and uses the money towards a volunteer group that will give people lifts when they need them to exactly where they want to go. He says it’s not for profit, people build up credit and the woman who explained it said it worked really well.

11.07: Each session here today has a scribe and you’ll be able to see fuller summaries of all the discussions later when we collect everyone’s notes all together.  A link will be on here when it’s posted.

11.10: The group I’m in talking about transport have moved onto how we generate more of our own energy. They talking about the relative merits of wind turbines and now we’re onto a public bus service from Newport to Monmouth and how it’s not actually proved to be that popular which is disappointing. perhaps we need more focussed transport where people get exactly what they need.  Another person talked about how if he came here today from Bridgend he wouldn’t even think before using the car but a train would have been a viable option.

Owly Images

11.38:  The groups are assembling for the second session – I’m going to get a bit more involved with the next session so I’ll take notes and be back here around 1pm-ish to post some notes on what’s being going on.

11.43: By the way – notes from some of the sessions are online already! You can read them here

13.50: I got caught up in some fascinating conversations and more notes taken from the sessions here. Really worth a read if you want to know what’s at the top of people’s agendas here in Monmouthshire. Will be back later with more photos and info from the day.

15.15:  Well, after lots of lively debate, Your Places, Your Way has wrapped up for today. We took the three main ideas and notes for action from each session and put all of them out for the group to see (I’ll post some photos here later).  Everybody was given five round stickers and they can vote for which three things from the long list of all the things discussed today that they’d like to see taken further. We’re now counting up which three of the list got the most votes and we’ll get a post up here in the next week looking at the top three and ask for your ideas on working together to start to get them to happen.



  1. Congratulations, Monmouthshire – and to Helen for putting together such a great live blog! It just shows how powerful co-production can be – in a very short space of time, people have come up with a fantastic list of REAL issues to explore and take forward.

    Good luck as you decide your “top three”. Looking forward to seeing how you all work together to “get them to happen” in the weeks ahead! 🙂 Gill

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