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‘Sounding group’ will involve community voice in proposals

Published: Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) is trialling a ‘community sounding group’ to help test proposals.

The group is made up of residents, who may also be representatives of groups and organisations, and who hold a range of expertise and perspectives.

The Partnership hopes informal advice from the Community Sounding Group (CSG) will help further identify key challenges and shape proposals before they’re taken forward, and to complement existing channels for community involvement such as Local Liaison Forums which are focused on specific schemes.

The GCP is a partnership delivering a ‘city deal’ for Greater Cambridge – providing investment in vital infrastructure that supports economic growth and delivers new housing and jobs and maintain quality of life in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire. The CSG is being trialled, in part, in response to public feedback.

Click here  to be taken to the Community Sounding Group web page.

GCP Chief Executive Rachel Stopard said: “The GCP hears on a regular basis from a range of individuals and groups with a variety – and often conflicting – views on how funding should be invested locally.

"It’s really important, if we are to deliver positive interventions that can meet the future needs of our city region, to ensure these respond to local views.

“It made sense for us to meet more regularly with a group of people who can provide informal feedback to help us test and refine ideas, but without taking away from our extensive opportunities for engagement for all stakeholders on a wider scale.”

The CSG will meet quarterly with senior GCP officers but does not form part of the formal decision-making process and members are not expected to endorse proposals – but instead to give honest advice to be considered. 

The CSG will be facilitated by Faye Holland, founder of Cambridge-based communications company Cofinitive, who work across the business and community groups in Cambridge.

Faye added: “I am very passionate about facilitating this group – both as a business leader and as a resident. It is greatly advantageous to secure feedback on emerging policy and programmes in advance of broader consultation and hence the role of the CSG is ‘sounding’ out ideas and providing input to help officers bring forward projects more effectively.”

Membership is currently made up of representatives from some key groups and who have taken an active interest in GCP to date. It includes permanent and transient residents, commuters, a student, advocates for service users and small business, cyclists, pedestrians and car users.

For practical reasons, its intended for the CSG to have 10-15 members who can offer a range of different voices.

As such, GCP is actively recruiting additional members and, to ensure diverse participation, we are particularly keen to hear from volunteers from any of the following groups: working in education or training; key workers; bus users; regular commuters living outside Cambridge.

Where there is overlap or where we are exceeding numbers we will be able to direct interested parties to other ways of engaging with GCP. The CSG process is subject to feedback.

For details of CSG members and meetings visit

If you are interested in joining the group email FAO Beth Durham or, alternatively, Faye Holland at