Community Engagement and Development ideas -as applied to Hastings Pier

(Material adapted from that received on a course from the University of Sussex Centre for Community Engagement)

Community development workers and community activists involved in projects often feel that they are being pulled in several different directions - they seem to have to work with, and be accountable to, many bodies and have expectations placed upon them. It is useful, therefore, to map out where the potential tensions lie.

1. Make a Stakeholder Map:

Choose ONE issue e.g. the redevelopment of a pier and surrounding area with community regeneration aims:
Who are the active people already wanting to be consulted?
Who are the silent people whose views ought to be sought?
How much power do they have and what authority do they have to make decisions?
What is their level of concern about the specific issue
Is there a lead person or organisation who has responsibility for delivering the project?

Draw out your map as in the film above.
The stages of group formation & function are reflected on below:

Restating the Paul Crosland personal mission statement & publishing what the Observer did not

I give my service to generating a more caring & sharing Hastings & St Leonards.
In doing this I'm learning & practising inclusivity and happiness.
I moved to St Leonards because the arrestees after Hastings Pier Fire were from St Leonards; addressing all these wounds is a driving force for me.
I hope my work contributes to creating a town in which no-one wants to set light to any buildings.
In working towards this goal, I treat people ('arsonist' or otherwise) with respect and dignity.
Paul Crosland 
(November 2011)

Publishing what the Observer did not:
Dear Editor

My interest in the pier fire, which prompted me (and the organisations I head) to move to St Leonards, is not so much in finding someone to blame as in encouragaging the relevant young people in this community TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY.

It seems unlikely that those who were on the pier on 5th October 2010 will come forward to take responsibility until some combination of the following occurs:
1) A deeper understanding of why talking truthfully about what happened matters so much to a (growing?) number of us.
2) A conscience that recognises that a better way to deal with things is to "come clean".
3) An awareness that many others in this community model how to take responsibility (eg for things they "got away with" that have nonetheless left deep wounds) & that actually taking responsibility works well for all.
4) They stop using excuses about others' as a way to deny the need to  take responsibility. (In Criminology these excuses are called the 4 techniques of neutralisation)
5) Hearing fewer voices from those who are only saying what they want FROM those who were on the pier (e.g. those who want further suffering as retribution)
6) Hearing more about what others want FOR those who were on the pier e.g. opportunities for a life that values your skills, determination and wish to live a meaningful life, living harmoniously within your chosen community.
7) Something that sufficiently addresses your fear of talking out about what happened, so that you take courage and do it before someone else reveals your painful secret.
Kind regards
Paul Crosland
CEO Mediation Support & the main blogger on (healing) the pier fire (here at