Step 3.1 – Develop an engagement strategy

Include all the members of your community and gather feedback from a diverse range of voices to inform your work.

Who to seek feedback from

An engagement strategy defines who you will engage with and how.

Make sure you include a range of people and groups. This will help to give a voice to people who might not otherwise be represented or heard in community meetings.

It will also ensure services and activities are relevant to the people who need more assistance with social connection and inclusion.

Include all members of your community, including the perspectives of:

  • Māori
  • Pacific peoples
  • disabled people
  • people living with dementia
  • older migrants
  • former refugees
  • the LGBTI community
  • those who live remotely
  • any groups that are at risk of being marginalised.

You may have already engaged with some of these groups as part of your assessment.

Step 2.2 – Engage with your community

Organisations that can help

Connect with relevant organisations for advice on how to meet the specific needs and preferences of these diverse groups, for example:

Canterbury District Health Board and Age Concern Christchurch have worked with people with dementia to gather their perspectives on how the city could become more dementia friendly for their report Developing a Dementia Friendly Christchurch [PDF, 1.62MB].

Include a Te Ao Māori perspective

Māori models of wellbeing are holistic, strengths-based and put people and communities at the centre.

Work with appropriate iwi and hapū representatives and the kuia and kaumātua living in your community to ensure your initiative caters for the needs and preferences of kaumātua Māori. Initiatives that work well for Māori often work well for community members of all ethnicities.

Use the relationships you have built with kaumātua and other community leaders to help you understand and apply kaupapa Māori models of wellbeing to your project.

“Hamilton libraries have an oral historian on staff, who is now working with Kaumātua to gather their histories. We were officially welcomed onto Rauawaawa late last year to start this project, which was a real highlight for me.”

Nick Chester, Hamilton City Council

Working with community members

Working closely with stakeholders – and maintaining those relationships – is key to ensuring a suitable plan is developed for your context.

Consider seeking and including the views of community members in their 50s and 60s who will be impacted by long term plans.

Working with social and health sector organisations

Work with the older people in your community, as well as seeking feedback from other social and health sector organisations – for example, non-government organisations and district health boards

A ‘bottom-up/top-down’ approach helps to develop programmes that are relevant and attractive to the target audience, while also ensuring that there is a good overview to prevent gaps or duplication of services or activities.

“We had to challenge our traditional ways of working to bring this strategy through. While it’s a Council strategy, we wanted great community engagement.”

Gerry Brooking, Carterton District Council

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