As the Elections Approach, streetlife.com Asks: Do Residents Know, or Care to Know, Their Local Councillors?

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With voters across England and Wales heading for the polls on Thursday, streetlife.com, the local social network, reports that communities across the country want to connect online with the government officials they elect to represent them.

streetlife.com users show an appetite to engage with local councillors

streetlife.com users show an appetite to engage with local councillors

There’s a huge opportunity for officials to use sites like streetlife.com to listen and talk to local people about public services and community safety issues.

A nationwide YouGov survey commissioned by streetlife.com, the local social network, found that Britons struggle to recognise and name their councillors, with over two thirds of voters unable to identify any of their local government representatives.

But a recent poll* of streetlife.com users revealed that there is an appetite to engage with local officials. An overwhelming majority (93pc) said they care what their councillors do, while 84pc were keen to have dialogue with local government representatives.

Communities across the country are using streetlife.com as an online forum for sharing information about public services including schools, libraries, recycling and recreation facilities, and for discussing planning applications, street defects, parking and public transport.

Going digital

Social media is changing the way people communicate across the globe, and digital spaces also have a role to play in encouraging and facilitating engagement at local level. Online solutions like streetlife.com make it possible to share information quickly and easily, to identify local issues concerning residents, and crowdsource ideas and solutions.

Nina Whittaker, head of communities at streetlife.com, explains that social media can help elected representatives to connect with local residents: “There’s a huge opportunity for officials to use sites like streetlife.com to listen and talk to local people about public services and community safety issues. Our users care about the place where they live, and our research shows a keenness to hear about what's happening in their local area, and engage with local authorities."

Wandsworth Council uses streetlife.com to share information and events with residents of the borough, gather feedback about existing and proposed initiatives, and run live online chats with officials. Councillor Ravi Govindia, leader of the council, said: "Online communications are an increasingly important tool to enable us to deal with residents’ questions and concerns, tell them about what we’re doing, get ideas of how we could improve the services we offer and tap into local enthusiasm about how to make the borough a better place to live.”

streetlife.com is available across Great Britain, and active in over 350 communities. The service is free for residents and government representatives to discuss local issues.

Find out more and join the conversation at streetlife.com.

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*Source: streetlife.com user survey, January 2013.

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About streetlife.com

streetlife.com, the local social network, has a simple aim: to help people across Britain make the most of where they live by connecting and sharing with their neighbours. The website provides a free and easy place for residents, community groups, local government representatives and businesses to share practical information, advice, skills and resources.

The streetlife.com team believes that better connected neighbours build stronger communities, and that digital media has a key role to play in bringing together people with busy routines or reduced mobility, to discuss and improve the local issues they care about.

Main uses of the site include:

  • discussing nearby news, crime, planning proposals and public services
  • finding locals with common interests, organising and attending social groups and events
  • sharing skills and belonging with neighbours, from hedge-trimmers to spreadsheet skills
  • recommending and discovering local businesses and tradespeople
  • promoting, campaigning and volunteering for community projects and local causes

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Nina Whittaker
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