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

It’s encouraging how residents and local organisations are responding to current reduced Covid restrictions over the summer. Autumn and winter may yet pose further challenges for us, but July to September has given a welcome breathing space and renewed energy. Boston Big Local has remained active and engaged throughout and is alert to these changes and supportive of groups and activities opening up again.

Nationally, it is exciting that the Big Local Connects event is still set to go ahead in Nottingham in late October where residents and workers from 150 areas will be able to share and learn from each other.

New recent resources include this new handbook on responding to loneliness. Together we plan handbook also offers useful approaches to support the partnerships in developing work during the COVID-19 crisis.

And just a reminder that if you don’t get the Local Trust monthly newsletter, it’s a good source of news and updates from across Big Local: you can sign up for it here: https://localtrust.org.uk/sign-up-to-our-newsletter/.

Running things

Boston Big Local partnership is running very well and valued returning to monthly face to face meetings, with the option for members to join by Zoom if preferred. It remains well supported by the plan co-ordinator and the Local Trusted Organisation, Age UK Lincoln & South Lincolnshire. Finances are reviewed each month. There has been a delay in closing down the accounts from the last plan due to outstanding invoices and a banking glitch, but this is now resolved and the new plan is well underway.

Boston Big Local is also taking part in national research on what makes for good partner working with local authorities. After meeting the partnership, Graeme Fancourt thanked the group: “It was great to come to Boston to see part of the area where you live and work, and to meet with you all. I really appreciated the openness and energy in the room as we went through the mapping process, as well as the depth of the knowledge, and hope you found it helpful.” The process involves the Borough Council directly and is helping review and strengthen the working relations between the two.

Doing things

A further round of Community Chest has been held and 11 quarterly reports were received, reviewed and approved in July. Stories of action and change are celebrated online and in the latest newsletter, including the completion and official opening of the Buoys arts project. Another success has been kick starting the Boston Book Festival for one year, with the hope it will continue on. This seems very likely after a very successful event. One partnership member said: “It was good to see the place bustling. The atmosphere was great, and I am sure that everyone attending enjoyed it. The arrangements at Fydell House were excellent.” Another said: “I attended a few of the events on Saturday and I felt that the event was really well run and was interesting and something different to promote Boston.”

Meanwhile all the art work for the Boston Monopoly project has been approved and support for the project given by the Borough Council. In similar vein, a further order of Boston Trumps has been received and distributed to local groups for them to sell on to raise local funds.

Looking ahead

So far Boston Big Local’s approach to its new plan of backing known and proven activity while keeping Covid recovery funding free as needs arise is working very well. A number of proposals have arisen which the partnership is deciding on, including Christmas lights. Another plan in development is funding £25,000 for equipment and development of Broadfield Lane Park. The proposal includes 25m Zip wire, a swing unit with a circular swing and two more traditional swings, bench and rubbish bin and associated safety flooring and landscaping.