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 summer is upon us, I guess some things are feeling a lot better than they have been, with better weather and greater freedom of movement. But I wonder also whether the cumulative effect of these last 15 months is also taking its toll. Many in our communities continue to have a very tough time economically, through isolation, illness and loss. But it inspires me to witness the community resilience and the fires of local commitment and energy for change being stoked up once more. Boston Big Local has continued to work for the greater good of the area throughout and is keen to respond as best it can in these coming months to the specific needs emerging and to the opportunities opening up.

Local Trust continues to offer its support to the 150 Big Local areas across England. The national Big Local programme is especially pleased that, at this point, it does look like this year’s Big Local Connects will be going ahead in October in Nottingham. Boston Big Local continues to contribute significantly toward the national programme and has booked its three places for this year’s Big Local Connects event.

Running things

Boston Big Local has had a busy and productive three months, continuing to meet via Zoom as a partnership and through sub groups, ably supported by the plan co-ordinator and the Local Trusted Organisation, Age UK Lincoln & South Lincolnshire. Finances are reviewed each month and headline figures displayed on the spend barometer on the website, showing a total planned investment of £1.2m. The last plan is completed and is closed down. The current new two year plan has been launched with its ambitious balance between supporting proven activity with existing partners and looking out for new initiatives in response to these harsh and unpredictable times.

Doing things

The last quarterly reports for the old plan were reviewed in April and approved by the partnership. A new set of reports are due at the end of this month for review at July’s meeting. These will be posted to the website. Some recent stories of action and change are in the latest May newsletter. Boston Big Local has recently committed to funding and supporting the Boston Book Festival for one year, while hoping this investment will help it to become established as an annual event on the Boston calendar, like the Marathon before it. Progress on developing and seeking wider support for the Boston Monopoly game is coming on really well. A further virtual coffee morning was co-hosted with arts group Transported in April, maintaining and developing links across a network of partners. In May the latest round of Community Chest was held, leading to support got Friends of Fydell House, Boston in Bloom, Singing for Fun, Boston Volunteer Centre and Framework.

Looking ahead

Boston’s rich range of summer activity, traditional strongly backed by Boston Big Local, is of course curtailed this year. But the partnership is ready to give its backing to events as they become possible to breathe new heart into the community. The Buoys Project is due to be officially launched on 3 July. The partnership itself is planning to meet in person in July, with online facilities for those not ready for that step yet. The partnership hopes to be able to hold a wider residents’ meeting and AGM in the early autumn.