Back in February, BBL met with Mark Bishop to discuss our next 2-year plan. Mark, an assessor from the Local Trust visited Boston to check our plan meets the expectations and aims of the Big Local project.

Below is his report which led to our plan being accepted:

I was really pleased to meet the Boston Central Big Local Team last week and was grateful for the groups’ time in answering my questions. I met Darren from the LTO in the afternoon to talk through the accounts and he was really helpful in explaining the accounts and in providing me with a current update on the figures (because the last published accounts are dated March 2018). Later in the day, I met Richard & Mark who gave me a brief tour of the town and pointed out some of the projects supported by the partnership after which we were joined by Darren, Lind, Mike and Don and I was really impressed by everyone’s enthusiasm and knowledge about their projects and I really appreciate the time spent helping me to understand the projects and the ambitions of the team there!

I had no hesitation in recommending this Plan to be supported in full because it is obviously well thought through and based on a sound understanding of what residents want.

I think the Partnership is aware of the need for better engagement with a wider group of people within the community and we talked through some specific gaps in engagement with the Eastern European communities and with young people. One of the projects within this Plan is the employment of a worker, Fran Taylor (3.1.3) who is already well known in the area and has a proven track record of being able to engage people, which will help to see a broader range of people involved.

Despite the recruitment of a new Plan Coordinator (5.1.1) and Fran as the engagement officer, we discussed how this still leaves Boston Big Local quite ‘light’ on paid workers and how this might have a knock-on impact on the resources of the LTO, which might be a discussion for the future as projects and activities increase?

Finally, it was pointed out during the meeting how the age; ethnicity; languages; immigration and religion of the population was changing. I can see that the Partnership has really begun to take this into consideration and we discussed the fact that there are some really useful forms of practical support available on bringing communities together, and delivering services in a way that can benefit left behind groups. This may be great for some of the excellent projects proposed in this Plan?

In conclusion, 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.

With all good wishes – Mark