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.

First, it is with great sadness that young residents and their parents near Woodville Road woke on Saturday 17th September to find their pirate ship burnt down, an act of arson that has left everyone numb. Fran Taylor, from Boston Borough Council, and local people worked tirelessly with colleagues from Boston Big Local to gain and develop the ideas and plans and see their wonderful vision become reality. The police is of course involved and the council is looking at what can be done.

The big picture

Over the summer it’s been encouraging to see a burst of activity and events for groups and communities, many supported through your Big Local. But, with mounting pressure on many households, new challenges arise which need compassion and further community-led responses. Across England, Big Local continues to grow as a powerful force for good in what it invests in and how it does this through the vision and dedicated activism of resident groups working for the greater community good.

Community Wealth Fund

There is a key opportunity for us all to influence future funding in our communities by completing the survey about dormant assets: www.communitywealthfund.org.uk/respond.

Make it happen

As the Big Local programme enters its final phase, with area investment completed by late 2025, Local Trust is upping support to each area to ensure maximum opportunities for maximum investment in local priorities, opportunities to find future funding and growing the number and skills of volunteers. Catch up on the offers by getting the newsletter. The sort of free expert advice available includes:

  • Community engagement and volunteer management
  • Securing a community asset
  • Becoming a legal body
  • Mastering communications and storytelling
  • Climate proofing the BL plan
  • Funding and income generation
  • Engaging diverse groups of people
  • Measuring Change

Looking back

At the July meeting, quarterly reports were scrutinised and approved by the partnership including for the Stiches, Woodcarvers, Memory Lane, Samaritans, Boston Community transport, Restore Pantry, Boston in Bloom, Play equipment, LCVS environmental improvements and volunteering and the 1940s event. Despite the set-back of the arson attack on the play equipment, the partnership is delighted at the success of summer events it has supported, especially the beach event and the 1940s event. The beach was larger than before, holding 52 tonnes of sand. The area was cleaned every day by Boston Borough Council Grounds team to ensure the safety of the community. The beach was open to the whole community to use whenever they wanted. Every day families flocked to play, brought their picnics and stayed as long as they wanted. In addition there was a fantastic programme of activities including the teddy bears picnic for pre-school children, golden time for the elderly population and fun in the sun for those needing additional support. There were two days of family fun with over 2000 people each day taking part, with magic shows, bouncy castles, donkey rides and face painter. Many other organisations joined ranks, giving them an opportunity to link with the community. Fran Taylor summed up: “It was proven that by working together a bigger and better event can be delivered.” And was.

Looking ahead

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 is an AGM and community event with the partnership at the Len Medlock Centre on Thursday October 13th, launching the plan review and building the final plan to be submitted in February 2023.