Here is an update from our Big Local Rep, Bill Badham, on the latest developments here at Boston Big Local.
The autumn has been a busy and productive spell for Boston Big Local, in both running the partnership and doing a great deal to deliver on the ambitious plan. Toward the end of the period it was a delight to welcome back Rachel Lauberts, the plan co-ordinator. The chair, Richard Tory, continues to bring enthusiasm and leadership in helping make Central Boston an even better place to live.
The partnership review in the autumn showed the group in reasonable shape, though a bit overstretched and needing a few new resident recruits. Age UK Boston and South Holland has taken on its Local Trusted Organisation role with care and expertise, offering sound support and excellent financial tracking. Each partnership meeting includes a financial slot where money remaining is demonstrated from the latest bank statement, spend in the last month is cross referenced by a cost coded list of items and any concerns of under or overspend are brought to the partnership’s attention.
The 3Cs policy (compliments, concerns and complaints) was updated in December. A concern from one applicant to the Community Chest was received and has been taken seriously, leading to some tweaks to the guidance and process.
The partnership is working to a two-year plan and will review progress in the New Year and submit an updated budget and summary of activity to Local Trust in February to ensure smooth transition between year 1 and year 2.
One of the Boston Big Local plan’s great strengths is that the plan co-ordinator helped ensure delivery partners were lined up and signed up so that, on plan approval in April, people were ready to get on with what they had promised to do. Which they have by and large done.
One concern though was that Boston Big Local communications were not doing justice to its achievements. The partnership agreed to take action to redress this, having been frustrated in its attempts to see develop a news hub with young reporters. Guidemark Publishing developed a communications outline for Boston Big Local and is now putting this into action. This has been hugely helpful in a short period of time. The website is refreshed and has been updated with minutes of partnership meetings, clear information about the plan, ways to apply for events and community chest funding and previous newsletters. Most importantly, there are a growing number of stories about what’s changed for residents as a result of the funding received. These include stories about grants for community events, support for people with dementia, a staying active programme, sports taster days and action to improve the local environment.
A very encouraging and exciting new venture has also been germinating and has now been approved by the partnership, with Boston Big Local being a lead sponsor to the Boston Marathon.
In the New Year, the partnership will take stock as it enters the last quarter of the first year of the plan. It will review progress and make any amendments to plan and budget and submit these to Local Trust by the end of February to ensure continuity of funding and activity in relation to the plan’s vision and priorities.
The transfer to the new Local Trusted Organisation has gone very well and the quality and timeliness of financial information is just one example of the sound basis to this working relationship.
The continuing progress on activity being undertaken links to the clear expectations in service level agreements which is a tribute to the systematic and professional way Rachel Lauberts helped put the plan into action. And the action on communications means there is now a stronger message to convey to residents and partners of work done and the achievements being supported through Boston Big Local.
Boston Big Local Rep