On the 9th May 2019, we held our Annual General Meeting at the Len Medlock Centre.

Many of our partners joined us to reflect upon the previous year and look forward to what we hope to achieve going forward.

Katy Roberts, our new Plan Coordinator, welcomed everyone and introduced our chair who delivered his report:

Chairman’s Report
(1st April 2018 – 31st March 2019)
Over the recently completed operating year; variously referred to within the Boston Big Local Partnership as Year Two, of the Second Two Year Plan, or Year Four (in the overall timescale of the BBL Partnership) we have had an ‘interesting’ twelve months.

It began during the transition from Year Three to Year Four, when the partnership reviewed the previous year’s performance with a critical eye and decided that several projects did not represent value for money.  After much discussion it was regretfully decided that the funds allocated for these projects would be more beneficially employed on behalf of local residents if they were redirected elsewhere.

Whilst this re-evaluation was taking place BBL was approached by Blackfriars Theatre, with a proposal that ticked so many boxes that the partnership could not have designed a more appropriate project if it had tried.  A simple lift has opened up disabled access across the whole gamut of the building’s activities.  Not only increasing the number of patrons able to visit the auditorium and bar facilities, but making it possible for disabled performers to easily access the stage (raising Boston into the forefront of UK locations with theatres offering such facilities), as well as making the rehearsal rooms available for mothers with push-chairs and conventioneers alike.  BBL was able to fund the bulk of this project from Year Three underspend and ‘topping up’ its contribution with monies diverted from discontinued projects.

Despite trimming back on a few underperforming programmes BBL still managed to directly support fifteen projects across our four themes, as well as funding a further twenty-two groups and organisations through our Community Chest pot, with a further five events supported by our Local Events Scheme.  Even then we were able to identify a small amount of additional underspend that was made available to the Boston Community Transport Scheme.

Among our Scheduled projects we continued to support the Arts for Dementia classes, The Get Cycling Roadshow, Boston in Bloom (winning its fourth Gold in a row, plus other accolades), the ever popular two day Beach Event in Central Park, Citizens Advice’s Fit 4 Your Future project, the Lincolnshire Credit Union and the Boston Hanse Group.  Some of the many groups helped by the Community Chest pot included: The Boston Woodcarvers Group, Fydell House, Endeavour Radio, Boston Womens Aid, Boston Samaritans, the We’ll Meet Again (WWII Homefront) Museum, B&SH Talking Newspaper, Boston Downs Syndrome, Pilgrim Hospital Radio and Centrepoint Outreach.  With the Boston United Community Foundation, the Butterfly Hospice, Carers First and the Boston Great War Commemoration Society receiving funding from BBL’s Local Events Scheme.

Apart from simply funding these, and other, organisations, events and projects the second half of the year found BBL in search of a new Plan Coordinator as well as simultaneously researching, drafting, revising and finally submitting our next Two Year Plan.  This plan has subsequently been given the blessing of Local Trust and, with the signing of the sixteen new SLA’s, it is now rolling out across Boston.

In part, taking into consideration the Town’s planned celebrations in 2020, the new plan has taken on a more artistic flavour.  With several new projects designed to showcase Boston’s history and encourage community involvement.

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.

Richard Tory
Boston Big Local Partnership Group

Our LTO (Local Trusted Organisation), Age UK, Lincoln and South Lincolnshire’s Finance Manager, Darren Bayley shared our accounts for the year which everybody agreed to be correct.

Bill Badham, BBL’s rep from the Local Trust, the national organisation that manages the implementation of Big Local scheme for the 150 Big Local areas.

Bill passionately detailed the history of how BBL came about and the amazing work he feels the residents have done over the last 4 years. He stated:

The residents really do make the decisions and choices of how to invest the money in the area in which they live. They take these choices seriously because they know they have to look their neighbours in the eye and justify their decision on how they spent the money.

Bill handed over to Fran Taylor to explain how she plans to go around to many groups in the BBL area to spread the word on how BBL can support them and get their feedback on what they would like to spend the £100,000 that BBL has set aside for a large final year project.

Working with the BBL communications lead, Fran had created a leaflet which was shared with the meeting and signed off ready to be printed for Fran to handout at the groups and to go to every house and business in the BBL area.

Download BBL Leaflet

Our meeting concluded with naming our Partner of the Year for 2019. Our chair, Richard Tory announced the BBL panel’s choice of Debbie Broadley from LHP for the craft group she runs for people with Dementia. Read Debbie’s report to see the great work the group has done.

Before the meeting closed various partners shared the differences that the BBL funding has made to their groups. Richard Austin explains how BBL pump funded the Marathon to help it become self-sustaining. Alison Fairman shared how our investment in Boston In Bloom helped them achieve national recognition and many awards.

We are proud of all we have achieved and realise the difference our choices can make. We are now focused to move forward with implementing our new plan and delivering new funding through our events and community chest pots.

If you would like to read more please check our minutes from the AGM: