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The Essex Identity

“Across Essex everyone will have a story, but there's a common thread across us all and that is we all just want a good quality of life, even if that's different for each of us. Unless professionals go out and talk to people, really connect and get to know their communities, how will you know what a good quality of life looks like for people?”


One of the ambitions of The Future of Essex is to achieve much deeper levels of participation in decision-making, beyond the immediate local interests of the community groups we work with or the thematic issues that we engage service-users in.

To create lasting change, we must capture imaginations and inspire new possibilities. Creating impact at scale requires establishing new ways of listening understanding and connecting with the people of Essex on a personal level.

David Sollis, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Essex and Gemma Warsap, Research Fellow, Essex County Council presented a new toolkit to enable organisations to engage and collaborate with citizens in tackling some of our most challenging issues.  Chief Executives from across the system reminded us of the value of engaging in conversations with citizens on issues such as deprivation and mental health to develop strong networks across the system that facilitate communication, gather insight, develop and shape new ideas and solutions.

Thanks to those of you who registered your interest to participate in future conversations with our residents, and in the upcoming Citizens Assemblies planned for 2020. There’s still time for you to join in, just drop us an email at We’ll be in touch to arrange these opportunities for you, and we’ll use the content of these conversations to better understand; how individuals, businesses and communities want to engage with us; the barriers that we need to address; how we can build their trust; how we can collaborate with and involve residents in our decision-making processes.

In the meantime, you can share the video and check out the @peopleofessex on Instagram, where you’ll find more than 80 stories from people across Essex that we spoke to as part of this project. This platform will continue to showcase the engagement, research and insight work of Essex County Council, with the next instalment from citizens living with physical impairment.