Top ten tips for tackling nimbies

People who oppose local projects for homeless people, drug users or any unpopular group, with the age-old cry “not in my back yard!” are a fact of life. But there are strategies that can be used to ease the birth of your shiny new project.

1. Involve the local community. Provide lots of information for them about the proposed project and the client group. Often their fears will be based on misconceptions.

2. Make key contacts who can act as channels of communication between your project and the wider community.

3. Invite them in to meet the service users, if appropriate. Most people’s attitudes soften once they see a human face and get to know the people they are trying to keep out of their community.

4. Build up an alliance. As well as opponents there will also be people who support your campaign, such as the families of service users, or councillors. Families can back up your case at council meetings or in the media.

5. Use the media. Local papers usually try to be balanced in their coverage, so try to make sure you get your point across. Build relationships with journalists, who will always be interested in human interest stories.

6. Establish regular lines of communication with the local community so if any problems arise they can be dealt with quickly.

7. Promote the financial benefits of your project. It will bring jobs to the area and both staff and service users will spend money at local shops.

8. Choose the location carefully. It needs to be accessible for service users but sensitive to the concerns of the community.

9. Get involved in local committees, such as Neighbourhood Watch.

10. It’s probably best to avoid big community meetings, which may encourage mob mentality, and instead try to speak to individuals or smaller groups

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