TV newsreader Nicholas Owen chaired a Question Time style session at Hove Town Hall on Saturday.
The 90-minute session gave residents a chance to question a panel of Brighton and Hove councillors and representatives from the police, health service and community sector.
It marked the launch of a nine-month campaign called Get Involved.
The aim of the campaign is to involve more residents in the community and local decision-making, including through voting or taking part in consultations.
Five hundred people turned up for the day of events at Hove Town Hall – including the Question Time session – despite the dismal weather.
Other events included an opportunity for “speed meeting” with councillors – which Councillor Paul Elgood describes on his blog – and a young person’s question time.
Get Involved is being run as a partnership between Brighton and Hove City Council, Sussex Police, NHS Brighton and Hove, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service and other local community and voluntary organisations.
Nicholas Owen said: “I was delighted to be asked to host the city’s first-ever Question Time session.
“I am a keen supporter of people getting involved with their communities and do spend a great deal of time in Brighton and Hove, particularly as my mother lives here.”
Councillor Ayas Fallon-Khan, a Brighton and Hove City Council cabinet member, said: “Today has been just a taste of the forthcoming campaign to get more residents involved in local politics and decision-making.
“I’ve been very surprised at how many people turned out on such a wet day. It gives me great hope.”
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