HOW can we all work together to make a real difference to life across Stockton Borough?
That is the question members of the voluntary and community sectors and Stockton Council will be considering at an event at the Education Centre in Norton on 13 December.
The "Big Discussion" is being held by Catalyst, an organisation committed to providing an effective voice for voluntary and community organisations across Stockton-on-Tees.
The conference - the first of its kind in the area - will see members of the voluntary and community sectors and the Council discuss the current challenges and opportunities facing the voluntary and community sector and local government generally and locally.
The Council will also outline its comprehensive package of support for the voluntary and community sector. This will include a £250,000 'Investment Fund' which will help ensure the voluntary and community sector are well placed to access new commissioning opportunities, a small grants 'Community Fund' and a website providing information about the Borough to assist with applications for external funding.
The 'Big Discussion' event will also see the launch of a website to support the sector in Stockton as part of Stockton Council's 'My Community' campaign to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to be active members of their communities, by showcasing people who have done just that and providing information about how people can get involved.
Stockton Council's Cabinet Member for Access and Communities, Councillor David Coleman said: "There are lots of opportunities for people to get involved with decisions that affect our way of life across the Borough.
"The 'My Community' campaign highlights these opportunities and our partners in the voluntary and community sector play a vital role in helping us to develop these and raise awareness about how everyone can have a role in their community and make a difference.
"Decision making isn't just about politics. Through speaking up at community meetings or volunteering, people can influence and shape everyday life in their neighbourhoods."
As part of the campaign special, 'My Community' web pages have been developed on Stockton Council's website. These pages can be found at www.stockton.gov.uk/mycommunity. They outline the ways people living across Stockton can play a more active role in their communities.
For further information about volunteering and community engagement opportunities visit the 'My Community' web pages or contact Stockton Council's Partnerships and Engagement Team on (01642) 526032.