As your Big Local Rep, every three months I share my thoughts on local area progress with you as residents and with the central team managing the national programme. Your comments and thoughts are always welcome.
The partnership continues to meet monthly with the strong support of the Local Trusted Organisation, Age UK Boston and South Holland. Partnership meetings are attended by a core group and supported by others on the partnership wishing to be involved but who can’t make the monthly meetings. New members are most welcome and are being sought in the build up toward the launch of the new plan in April 2017.
The website remains an excellent showcase for all that is happening through Boston Big Local. Newsletters, partner agreements, reports on activities, minutes of meetings and stories of action and change are all posted on the website. Social media following continues to grow.
The partnership is well connected to the wider Big Local programme. In Sheffield in December, Wendy Griggs from the Local Trusted Organisation presented a very well attended and received workshop on keeping the partnership up to date on money matters. A number of other Big Local areas have since contacted her for her templates and tools. In October, the partnership contributed to a national review of added resources that Big Local brings to the area, such as volunteer time, funding and other resources, of which the Boston Marathon is an excellent example. Looking ahead, the partnership is also planning a workshop at a Spring event in May.
The plan is running smoothly with progress across all themes and most priorities. All reports are read by the partnership before funding is released and these are placed on the website, followed often with a short story about what’s changed.
Recent activity includes grants to seven more community chest applicants with a range of innovative and exciting projects, encouraging residents to join the credit union, the work of the memory lane project and the that helped to bring a sense of community spirit to the town centre.
In October, the partnership hosted a residents’ and partners’ event to review progress and draft the second delivery plan. The morning session reflected on, reviewed and celebrated the things that had been achieved in the first eighteen months of activity. Those taking part drew out what had gone well, areas for improvement and lessons learned. During the afternoon the focus was on gathering ideas that could be used to develop new activities for the second Boston Big Local Plan, which will run from April 2017 to March 2019.
In January, the partnership and plan co-ordinator are looking to identify which of the existing activities will continue into the new plan and what activities will cease (based on usage and feedback). In February, two community meetings are planned to review and finalise the plan before submission to Local Trust and to hold the AGM which hopes to include the election of new resident members to the partnership. The hope is the plan will be approved and ready to launch in April.