Harlow & Gilston Garden Town are teaming up with independent charity, the Quality of Life Foundation, for a summer of online and face-to-face community engagement that will give local people a chance to shape the future area.

Launching on Friday 15 July and funded by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Your Quality of Life project will place local people centre stage, giving everyone the opportunity to comment via an interactive map about their own wellbeing and day-to-day lives, from local nature and travel to health and community.

Information collected by the Quality of Life Foundation over the 12-week project will not only influence how plans are taken forward by the Garden Town’s five council partners but underpin future work around design, community development and the long-term management of public assets.

The Your Quality of Life project and engagement programme will also be reviewed by Central Government as they look to make the planning process more democratic and accountable via digital innovation.

Joining Quality of Life Foundation as partners on the project are Rainbow Services, who will be ensuring maximum participation in communities across Harlow, Gilston and surrounding areas, as well as data analytic leaders, Stantec, and citizen engagement website, Commonplace.

“Funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is allowing us to break the mould of how local people can influence changes in their area with the Your Quality of Life project,” commented Garden Town Director, Naisha Polaine, on behalf of the five council partners.

“It means we can be innovative in not only speaking with residents and businesses in the Harlow & Gilston Garden Town area but in collating and analysing the results as well.

“Young or old, everyone’s life experiences will count and contribute to how the local area grows and develops over time, so this project is a real landmark moment.

“And what makes it even more special is that the project takes place throughout Harlow’s 75th anniversary celebrations this summer.

“Harlow was a real pioneer when Sir Frederick Gibberd put together the New Town and our aim is to ensure that Harlow & Gilston Garden Town not only captures that same spirit and aspiration but is back on the map as a place known for great housing and tremendous job opportunities.”

Quality of Life Foundation Director, Matthew Morgan, explained why his charity had been chosen by Harlow & Gilston Garden Town for the soon-to-be-launched engagement: “We are committed to giving residents a greater sense of control over what they value and need in their local area, to affect the way government and industry approach housing and communities.

“Taking a long-term approach based on improving people’s health and wellbeing will lead to more socially, environmentally and economically sustainable neighbourhoods, a vision shared by the Harlow & Gilston Garden Town council partners.”

Andy Porter, Head of Digital & Innovation, at Stantec, added: “We’re thrilled to be working with Quality of Life Foundation on this important initiative to increase and diversify engagement within Harlow & Gilston Garden Town’s community as it will help shape future places and spaces that will be designed with that community in mind.

“Our approach focuses on using data to drive better insights into the needs of our communities, and we look forward to analysing these needs to help the Garden Town council partners create safe, healthy, and functional surroundings.”

Ahead of the Friday 15 July launch, people can register their interest in taking part in Your Quality of Life by visiting: https://qolmap.commonplace.is