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.

The big picture

Despite still much uncertainty home and abroad, this has been perhaps the most settled, or, can we say normal three months for over two years. Many aspects of our lives have opened up further and most of us are getting about more and re-joining activities in our communities. For Big Local, this has meant continuing new ways of doing things, especially online, but also returning more and more to face to face meetings and events.

Resident-led investment in the area has continued to support those particularly hard pressed, while picking up and giving a welcome push to things happening out and about, planning also for the summer and perhaps bigger events.

For all the heartache, loss and grief experienced in these last two years, Big Local has been at the heart of something good, very good: residents showing compassion and concern through practical action backed by dedicated resources, investment and volunteer time. When the 150 Big Local areas come to share and update our stories at Big Local Connects in September 2022, again in Nottingham, there will be many and varied stories to share, to celebrate and to inspire.

Looking back

The partnership has had a busy and productive period. Its achievements were recognised and honoured by Boston Borough Council, being presented with a Services in the Community award by the Mayor, Frank Pickett, in May.

In reviewing the latest quarter reports in April, the partnership was pleased to see progress on all themes and most priorities. Where some questions or concerns were raised, these have been followed up. The Spring edition latest newsletter, delivered to every resident in the Boston Big Local area, gave details of the Restore Pantry and the success in growing a sustainable affordable food shopping outlet. The last round of Community Chest saw seven grants given to Boston History Tours, Carers First, Heritage Trust, Samaritans, Boston Community Runners, the Centenary Bookstall and to BOS Musical Theatre Group. These small grants have an impact far greater than the amounts given, helping groups get ideas, initiatives and projects up and running.

Looking ahead

The lifting of Covid restrictions has meant the return of big outdoor events, including the 1940s event in June and the summer beach in Central Park over the summer. The scale and range of activities for the beach have grown, building in specific moments and opportunities for groups who might otherwise feel excluded.

In reviewing progress over the first year of the current plan, the partnership has taken the opportunity to sketch a time line and emerging priorities through to the end of Big Local. A key proposal agreed in principle by the partnership is to run one final year with the remaining funds from April 2023 to April 2024, rather than shall we say spread the jam too thin. There will be a community event with the partnership in the autumn, launching the plan review and building the final plan to be submitted in February 2023.