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.
As Boston Big Local gets closer to completing the £1.2m investment in the area over the last ten years, with less than £75,000 remaining, Local Trust as the managing agent will conclude its relationship with the partnership and entrust the final months to its trusted organisation which manages the finances and oversight, Age UK Lincoln & South Lincolnshire. My role will formally end, though the partnership has asked me to continue as a non-voting member in a voluntary capacity which I am delighted to do.
The autumn has been as busy as always, with Quarterly reports from partners were reviewed in October. All were approved. These are posted to the website and form the evidence for stories of action and change and in newsletters, the autumn edition again being delivered to every household. The partners are the Stitches, Memory Lane, Samaritans, Restore Pantry, Citizens Advice, Boston in Bloom, LCVS environmental improvements and volunteering and the Borough Council with the play equipment and the beach event.
In December, the second order of Monopoly was delivered and distributed to Local groups in time for Christmas. The Stump has been a central partner this time round and is taking over the responsibility for stock, distribution and, indeed, a third order, should one be seen as a good idea.
In November the Big Local research team visited to help reflection over the decade about what has been achieved, the highlights and legacy and the reasons for success.
First, the consistency and quality of how Boston Big Local has been led and managed were seen as central. Second, partnership members spoke of the approach taken, avoiding The Big Statue or building and focusing on building community capacity, using funding to help others to do great things. Third, the group identified the power of small grants to release big ideas and how the Community Chest has been a constant means for residents, groups and organisations to feel part of the Big Local ethos and journey. Fourth, BBL has invested in getting things up and running that have taken on a life of their own, such as the Boston Marathon, Boston Community Transport and various arts projects like Boston in Stich. Fifth, BBL has balanced strengthening the community with supporting those in hardship, through for example Citizens Advice, the Samaritans and the Pantry. Sixth, BBL’s strong relations with vital partners has grown trust and capacity and massively increased the impact of its investment, for example with Boston in Bloom and with Boston Borough Council through for example the Beach event and transforming all the playgrounds within the BBL area.