Every three months or so, I share my thoughts on local area progress with you as residents as your Big Local Rep and with the central team managing the national programme. Your comments and thoughts are always welcome.
After the energy and excitement of submitting the third two year plan in the spring, these last three months have focused on ensuring its successful launch, sharing headlines with residents and partners, putting new funding agreements in place and holding the AGM.
At the AGM, Debbie Broadley was given the Partner of the Year Award for her work with the memory lane group. Richard Tory summed up Boston Big Local’s position with wonderful understatement. “All in all, I think we can be justly proud of our achievements over the last twelve months and we can look forward, with a certain degree of confidence in our planned efforts, for the next twelve.” At its subsequent meeting, the partnership elected the positions of chair (Richard Tory) and vice chair (Don Jenkins).
The partnership continues to meet monthly with strong support from the Local Trusted Organisation, Age UK Lincoln & South Lincolnshire. Finances are reviewed each month and headline figures displayed on the spend barometer on the home page of the website. The partnership is diligent in its accountability to residents, with plans, partner agreements and quarterly reports all posted on the website. These provide the evidence of outcomes and impact through stories of action and change posted on the website and in newsletters delivered to every household.
Fran Taylor has begun the community engagement project, contacting centres, visiting local hubs and groups, schools and colleges, to build relationships, cement contacts and gain feedback to guide the future of Boston Big Local. Linked to this, the partnership also undertook a brief refresher on measuring the change that is being achieved locally.
Two new partnerships are also growing with the Townscape Heritage Initiative and Shodfriars theatre.
The April quarterly reports from partners were the last relating to the last plan and these were all scrutinised and approved. While much activity focusses on community spirit through events and support to local groups, attention continues to be paid to those who may be struggling in the community. Citizens Advice for example has seen 116 people this last quarter with focused and timely support alleviating hardship, improving mental health, finances and housing security. Other reports include Public realm improvements, communications, Community Events Grant Scheme, Memory Lane and the Credit Union.
The big event over the summer is the Beach event which goes from strength to strength and which also gives a valuable opportunity for residents to find out more about Boston Big Local. Other events include the 1940w event, the BLIC Conversation in Craft and Bike Night. In September, three members of the partnership are booked to take part in the second national Big Local event in Nottingham.