As the Big Local Rep for Boston Big Local, I write a quarterly blog to reflect on progress. This latest one covers the months just as the plan was approved by Local Trust.
The plan was submitted; Local Trust visited and subsequently approved the plan in April. This was the conclusion of a great deal of work and commitment, energised by a vibrant community conversation and engagement of local partners.
Approval was followed by quick implementation of the first stage of the plan by sending out Service Level Agreements to partner agencies preparing to take action. This means that activity has already begun to happen and that change has occurred as a result.
There have been two hic ups for the partnership. These things happen and inevitably take some of the shine off the sense of achievement recently. But it is in the way leadership emerges and matters are managed that a lasting and strong partnership is forged.
In June, the Local Trusted Organisation, Taylor-ITEX, was notified by the partnership and rectified an error in the Getting Started budget accounting. Its offer to stand down was accepted, giving the partnership time to find a replacement. Taylor-ITEX has played an immensely important role in supporting the group through the early stages and through to getting the plan in place.
During the same period two members of the partnership chose to stand down. Their involvement during the critical phase of plan development is much appreciated and they will be missed. The partnership board is therefore currently 11 strong (not including the Big Local rep), eight of whom are residents within the Big Local area.
Since plan approval, Service Level Agreements have been put in place and some activity has begun. Playground improvements are complete, with the chair and plan co-ordinator attending the opening. Work to set up the community chest is well underway, led by a resident member of the partnership and supported by the plan co-ordinator.
Other activity in the pipeline includes free gym membership to children in receipt of Pupil Premium, free lunchtime family activity sessions at the Geoff Moulder Training Pool, enhancing planting in the town centre by providing better quality planters, holding a Summer Beach/fun weekend in Central Park and expanding the Fit 4 your Future programme to include the private sector giving accessible financial advice to residents.
There has been some very positive press, with a number of stories being run and headlines repeated from the story prepared and circulated by Boston Big Local. The Newshub has not yet taken off, which is a shame given the amount of things happening to report and share.
Activity relating to Boosting the Local Economy has continued strongly, including seminars with Boston College and visits. This sub group declaring its desire to close down once its earmarked UnLtd funding runs out this summer.
These coming months afford Boston Big Local the opportunity to see bedding in activity it has funded in its plan. Already reports are coming in showing the difference being made to local people and their community. A change in Local Trusted Organisation in the coming months will require attention and action from the partnership. Establishing this new relationship will be vital to continue the great work underway.
What’s going well
The partnership has seen through the submission and approval of the plan and been praised with good publicity for its actions and funding plans. Early months after plan approval are not the easiest; there have been some teething difficulties with payment processes and managing VAT requirements. But these have been addressed and good governance is in place to help ensure the plan delivers on its promises in the coming months.