Nearly 200 people gathered at the Worcester Redeem Our Communities Conversation last night to discuss solutions to key issues in the city. 

Roughly 190 Worcester residents attended the event On Tuesday, October 18, which was held at the Bank House Hotel between 7-9pm.

Representatives from the police and emergency services, the council, charities, NHS, education, churches, businesses, and various faith-based groups all turned out in a bid to make a difference in their community.

High-profile attendees included the mayor of Worcester, Councillor Stephen Hodgson, Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia, John-Paul Campion, and the Chief Constable for West Mercia Police, Pippa Mills. 

Residents were given the opportunity to network and raise their concerns in focus groups before being actively encouraged to think of solutions.

A representative from each focus group then fed back to the room on what they had discussed.

Of the issues raised, places for young people to meet and socialise without feeling as if they are causing disruption was a common theme.

It was suggested that five locations would be needed around the city, and St John's Baptists church in Claines offered their facilities free of charge to try and ease the need for venues. 

Other key issues included the requirement for affordable, well-kept housing, the need for greater integration between different cultures and faiths, and the demand for more reasonably paid job opportunities and apprenticeships.

There was also a strong community focus on helping to connect vulnerable people with the services that could provide them with the support they need.

National Director and Founder of ROC, Debra Green OBE, said: "We do these all over the country and you can tell how well connected a community is.

"And it is obvious from tonight that Worcester is a very well-connected community.

"But I think over this last 18-months there have been some barriers to coming together, and we've had to overcome those barriers as we've come out of the pandemic. 

"So, it has been really good to see people coming out with lots of positivity and goodwill towards making our community safer and kinder."

Those who attended were also able to write their requests and needs on a piece of card and tie them to a 'wishing line', while others could reply with solutions. 

On one of the cards, the South Worcestershire Police Cadets wrote that they were looking for a city centre meeting place that they could rent out on a Thursday for a reasonable fee. 

They had at least four responses from people either suggesting or offering facilities for them to use.

On another, a local charity wrote that they were in need of a whiteboard.

After the card was read out at the front of the room, someone quickly offered to buy one for them.

And Mrs Green said that achieving instant successes through connecting people is what is so "satisfying" about the ROC Conversations.

"That is the bit that I love the most when you're matching a need with a resource," she added.

"I think there are resources out there, but often the people that have the need don't ever get to meet those with the resource.

"So, we're a bit like a dating agency where we bring everyone together and saying, 'your resource is going to be useful over here'.

"And when you start to see those dots being joined up it is really satisfying."

ROC will now compile a report with everything discussed at the meeting, and feed back to those who attended.

Attendees were also offered the chance to sign up to a community action group which will help implement some of the solutions with the support of ROC's expertise and resources.

Redeeming Our Communities is a Manchester-based charity that hold community engagement events that bring local people together.

The ROC Conversation was organised and brought to the city by a group of Church leaders from across the city.