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.
This has been a very important and successful three months for the partnership, managing transitions of plan co-ordinator and having the third two year plan submitted, assessed and approved.
In January, the last plan was reviewed by the partnership, achievements recognised and gaps identified. The Local Trust central team had this to say.
- This is an excellent plan review. It provided a thorough and clear picture of what Boston Big Local is doing, the successes and challenges and how you have used what you have learned to develop your next plan and the legacy of Boston Big Local.
- It is great to see your thorough use of data, especially open data from Local Insight and other sources, to help you review your activities and develop your next plan.
- We liked the wealth of supporting information you provided through links to your website that included blogs, films and infographics. These provided depth and context to your activities. We especially liked the infographic of your survey results and film from the 2017 Boston Beach event.
In February the new plan for 2019 – 21 was submitted, with very positive comments from the assessor, Mark Bishop, including:
- Evidence of a strong team, welcoming and well organised
- A well thought through plan based on a sound understanding of what residents want
- An effective contracting and outsourcing model, keeping running costs to a minimum and maximising investment in the community
- Appreciation that the plan had been developed during an interregnum of plan co-ordinator
- Sound Local Trusted Organisation support
- Good plans in place for better engagement with a wider group of people, including Eastern European communities and young people.
Mark concluded by saying: “I was mightily impressed by the quality and volume of the projects being supported by BBL and I thought it was a really enthusiastic and professional team there; I wish them every success with delivering this Plan and for the future.”
The partnership continues to meet monthly with strong support from the Local Trusted Organisation, Age UK Lincoln & South Lincolnshire. The new plan co-ordinator, Katy Roberts, is in post and the partnership is looking forward to launching the new plan over the coming months.
A range of new posts on the website demonstrate the value to local residents of the activities invested in by Boston Big Local and the outcomes being achieved.
Some of the funding is small-scale through the community chest but with significant impact. Recent examples include the Talking Newspaper, so that it can continue to be providing a free audio service to visually impaired people around our area. Also, Women’s Aid received a grant to help refurbish some of the facilities that are so much in need and under increasing demand for refuge accommodation for victims of domestic abuse and their families.The Samaritans also gained funding to train more volunteers and so help keep this vital service in the area.
Boston Big Local is looking forward to driving forward the new plan in April 2019, including the community engagement strand being led by Fran Taylor. This will provide an excellent opportunity and approach to widen and deepen the sense of ownership residents have for Boston Big Local and in turn strengthen community spirit in the area.