What is the community most concerned about?
Keep communications going.
One failure is to complete extensive consultation with a community when you want an answer from them. You get what you need and that’s it, don’t engage with them again. Maybe in six months time you start building your project and can’t understand why the community aren’t happy to see you.
Be prepared to provide answers on anything the community ask you that is related to your organization or what you project is doing.
This takes time and effort on your part, but certainly helps to build trust.
Community A is concerned about the buses and the infrequency of the service. You work for a territorial authority who has nothing to do with the bus contract that is run by the regional council. However, you agree to get the answer and talk to the regional council yourself and find out the answer and respond to the community.
Congratulations, you have now become a trusted source of information for the community. This means they will not only listen to you, but are also more likely to come back to you when they hear anything different to the information you are sharing with them.
Sometimes within a community there are people who are very passionate about their community and if you’re extra lucky even about the work you are doing. For example putting in a cycle lane for their children to get to school safely. If you share information with them and build trust in a relationship, they can become project champions.
More often than not, you can go into a community with a potential solution that some sectors of the community are not keen on and others are.
The key for getting change in this situation is to work with key people from different sides and get them in the same room to understand each others point of view. Can they find a compromise that will work for everyone?