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.

Communications and ending well

Boston Big Local has a year to run. With the final Big Local Connects set for October and each area thinking about how to end well, some themes emerge. First, our experience is that it is important that the whole partnership is involved in agreeing how to manage endings over the final 18 months to a year. Second, the final plan already includes a clear communications strategy and in the autumn the partnership will have in place a more detailed plan to back it up. Think early and be specific. Have a dedicated budget and be clear who is doing what. Be careful to not be over ambitious and focus on the essentials. Think about the audiences of residents, partner organisation and public bodies. Think about types of communications and which audience is most likely to access what approach. As a resident led programme, make sure to include how every resident can receive some summary of how their £1.2m has been invested in their community. What about hard copy newsletters going to every household and making use of existing free local newspapers? What about a summary leaflet or flier? These can be useful to use at events, whether those put on by the partnership, or when taking part in a big community event or if piggy backing on another organisation’s event.

Looking back

The final Boston Big Local plan was approved by Local Trust and started in April. Amidst recent council elections and changes among elected members and leadership roles, Boston Big Local has remained constant and committed to its visions and local investment priorities. This includes a range of creative projects such as the Boston Stitchers group, recently attending a partnership meeting and featuring in the latest newsletter. In its partnership with Boston Borough Council, the Beach Event is going ahead in August, bigger, brighter than ever and secure in future council support. The final phase of Boston Big Local supported playground redevelopment is secure, including rebuilding the burnt out pirate playground.

The last round of community chest showed itself once again as a versatile and effective means of local groups accessing much needed funding to develop local initiatives and responses to emerging need. All quarterly reports from the last plan were reviewed and approved in April for work undertaken by Boston Stitchers, Memory Lane, Boston Samaritans, Restore Church, Boston in Bloom, LCVS, playground developments and Citizen’s Advice Mid-Lincs. A small amount of underspend from the last plan was returned to Local Trust, which in turn will resurface for investment in this final plan.