Boston Big Local Community Consultation Event

16th October 2014, 1pm – 7pm
AGE UK Community Room, 32 Strait Bargate, Boston


The aim of the event

The aim of the event was to reflect with residents of the Boston Big Local area what we have heard and understood so far and take further suggestions on priorities for action and funding for the plan. The preparation for this event enabled BBL to refine its message. The event
itself allowed it to be reviewed revised by those taking part.

The event took place at Age UK on Thursday 16 October 2014 from 1pm to 7pm. Our thanks to Age UK for their welcome and hospitality.

12 students from Boston College used a short survey to gather opinions from residents, workers and those from outside the BBL area.

What happened on the day

There were five points or stations for people to visit and contribute to.

  1. Welcome and sign in . There was a signing in register and a separate sheet for those who entered the prize draw.
  2. Mark the map : people were asked to mark the map showing whether they live in the Boston Big Local area or whether they work in the area or live outside the area.
  3. Priorities for action : the community consultation to date has indicated four main themes for Boston Big Local to concentrate on. There are a range of activities that have been proposed. People at the event were asked to say which of these hit their top 10 that they most want to see happen through support from Boston Big Local. These ideas will feed into developing the delivery plan.
  4. Voting on how to spend the money : those taking part cast 4 tokens showing how much of Boston Big Local spend they feel should be allocated to each area. This will help give a rough approximation of how to spread the money across the four themes.
  5. Further information and keeping in touch : before leaving people were thanked for their help and contribution and asked whether they wanted to keep in touch through occasional news, contributing to do things or helping to run Boston Big Local.


Summary of the day

  • The team, the posters and other materials spoke strongly and clearly about what Boston Big Local is about and stands for.
  • Over 70 people came through the door at Age UK (great venue and welcome) and took part in the consultation. Of this number, about half were resident in the Boston Big Local area, with the others being non-residents and workers.
  • From this, we have confirmation that the vision, approach and 4 themes are robust and stand up.
  • We know much more about which of the long list of activities under each theme are front runners to fund and which are the main ideas on what Boston Big Local should influence and inform others to do.
  • We know that residents would wish to allocate about 32% of funding to a more attractive environment and about 32% of funding to greater community spirit, with about 24% for health and wellbeing and 10% for enterprise. When workers and no-residents views are added in, the order of funding priorities remains the same, with a bit more funding going to building enterprise and a bit less funding to greater community spirit.
  • We know that for most of the people who took part they want to keep in touch, some by simply staying in contact, a few by helping do things when needed and a number of residents from the Boston Big Local area wanting to help run things. This is encouraging news indeed.
  • Over 100 surveys were completed round and about the city centre, undertaken by a star team of 12 Boston College students. The vast majority of respondents lived within the heart of the Boston area.
  • We know from these surveys that people like the town because of its history, parks, friendly atmosphere, shops, opportunities and family ties and roots. We know there is a desire for more shops especially regarding clothes for children and frustration and aggravation caused by traffic, car parking congestion and road works. We know that, while many value and appreciate the diversity of cultures in Boston, there is much more to be done around building an inclusive community that values all residents.
  • There was interest and coverage from the media and lots of activity on social media. Sarah Colbert and Bill Badham were interviewed live on BBC Radio Lincolnshire and this clip has been well received including across the whole Big Local national programme.

You can listen online by accessing the Radio Interview via Google+. There was also coverage in the Boston Target and Boston Bulletin.

Next steps

Boston Big Local is now set to develop relationships with potential partners helping to realise the vision and deliver on the plan when created and approved. It is ready to build a partnership board based on residents within the Boston Big Local area. It is ready to draft the delivery plan. Boston Big Local hopes to have a draft completed for discussion by the New Year and finalised so that it can be approved and launched in April 2015.

Taking stock

From all the work indicated above drawing together the stats and the stories, Boston Big Local is ready to build its plan.

Our vision, guiding principles and approach

Our vision is for a happy vibrant area where people feel a sense of belonging. We aim to enhance the local area for the benefit of residents and businesses.

Our objectives are to build closer communications between all people, make the area more attractive, encourage new businesses and help make the facilities better, improve the environment for all and help ensure cleaner and safer streets.

Our Guiding Principles are to be:

  • Open, honest, even handed inclusive and fair
  • Active in the community, sharing our vision, listening and hearing to what the Community wants and needs
  • Enabling sustainable environmentally sound projects that are locally run and that benefit as large a section of the community as possible
  • The best we can, self-challenging, adaptable, impartial, transparent and accountable in all our dealings with the community.

Our approach is to utilise what we’ve got and to maximise it, avoiding wasting money and challenging red tape.

Boston Big Local can help the community work towards achieving this shared vision by:

  • Make grants to local groups to take forward projects which are working towards achieving the Boston Big Local shared vision.
  • Commission work through existing local agencies to provide ways to help the vision to be achieved.
  • Support social investment and social enterprise and encourage local entrepreneurs.

Our long term shared vision for the Boston Big Local area is:

  • A place where people live happy, healthy lives, where people feel included, valued and engaged.
  • A place where access to the arts and sporting activities are readily available to all.
  • A place which encourages people to participate in and take ownership of their community, creating a strong community spirit and a sense of pride in their surroundings.
  • A more cohesive community, bringing together peoples of different nationalities, cultures and faiths, generating mutual respect and understanding, valuing the contributions that each brings to our community.
  • A place where older people, people with disabilities and vulnerable people are considered and valued, where barriers of social isolation no longer exist and facilities are accessible and inclusive for all.
  • A place that is attractive, cared for and where people feel safe. A place that is welcoming and interesting to both visitors and residents alike.
  • A place where financial exclusion is reduced, where the aspirations of young people are high and where investing in their potential to develop new skills and creating new opportunities is encouraged.
  • A place where Boston’s market and historic centre is rejuvenated and once again enjoys the prestige of serving as a key hub in the lives of the people of Lincolnshire.
  • A place where community facilities are well used, thriving and sustainable, providing a wide range of activities for all ages, faiths and cultures.
  • A place where people are more engaged, with wider networks and improved communications between local groups, organisations, agencies and the residents they serve.
  • A place that encourages education and training where innovation and new opportunities are embraced and where people feel supported enough to take risks and where we all have a brighter sustainable future leaving a legacy for generations to come.

Themes and funding allocation

There are four principle themes for helping Boston Big Local area become an even better place to live. The event allowed for refining of ideas around activities to fund and issues for Boston Big Local to take on and inform and influence others about and gave a sense of the amount to be spent. All the data has been collected and analysed. Below is a summary of findings.

From our community consultation we know that the consensus is currently for an even spread of funding over the ten years, drawing roughly equally on the £1m each year. We recognise that a larger initiative may arise later and that the funding pattern may therefore alter. But for the time being as we move toward building the plan, we anticipate an annual spend of about £100,000. We anticipate the plan being a two year plan, running from April 2015 to March 2017.

Theme 1: Improving health and wellbeing (24% of funding allocation proposed by residents and 23% from everyone at the event)

Sports, leisure, arts and health

To develop opportunities and initiatives for residents to become more health aware,including sign posting to existing schemes and facilities.
The activities that have been given priority cluster around these headings:

  • Non-formal arts, culture and sport opportunities for young people
  • Places to go and things to do for older residents
  • Accessible (free) swimming for children
  • Arts, crafts and music for the community with accessible opportunities for Eastern European residents
  • Support for the Butterfly Hospice and its palliative and end of life care.

It seems that:

  • Activities rather than facilities are the focus for funding relating to sport.
  • Accessible community based facilities as well as activities need to be funded relating to arts and culture.
  • There are two clear and defined things to fund specifically, Fydell House and Butterfly Hospice. These could be through a community chest pot, covering all four themes.
  • There are three activities relating to economic inclusion which should be moved to theme 4 on enterprise, highlighting activity helping tackle poverty.
  • There may be a principle partnership with for example Boston Body Hub, with funding for specific activities and improved information and signposting.

There are two informing and influencing issues for Boston Big Local that stand out from the table above: promoting healthy living and improved policing.

An additional point was made by one resident: “Provide guidance and signposting to help the community discover where these facilities
already exist.”

Theme 2: Creating a more attractive environment (32% of funding allocation proposed by residents and 31% from everyone taking part)

Green spaces, amenity, improving the look of the town

To support voluntary organisations, statuary bodies and local businesses to create a greener, cleaner, safer Big Local area.

The activities that have been given priority cluster around improving the look and feel of the area, both shops and residential neighbourhoods. A lead partner such as Boston in Bloom and strong links with council bodies will be essential to achieve these outcomes. As a resident focused programme, it will be important to ensure emphasis on where people live rather than only where they shop.

Safe cycle routes, car parking and traffic are the principle priorities for residents and other people for Boston Big Local to inform and influence others about. In addition, residents would also like to see more lollypop people, toilet facilities and improvements to the riverbank.

Theme 3: Building community spirit (32% of funding allocation proposed by residents and 26% from everyone taking part)

Civic pride, image, heritage, community facilities

To help build a greater sense of community spirit and public pride, appreciation of our diversity and participation in community life.

The activities that have been given priority cluster around the heading of community events to draw people from different backgrounds together

It seems that:

  • A local partnership events planning committee that is inclusive of different community groups may need to be formed and supported with an annual allocation of money to plan and put on different activities. It maybe that Showcase offers this opportunity for collaboration.
  • Support to getting the Hanse League established and providing some targeted funding for activities may also be an effective approach.


There is one clear priority that emerges for Boston Big Local to inform and influence others to take forward and that is building links across cultures and communities.

Theme 4: Encouraging enterprise (12% of funding allocation proposed by residents and 20% from everyone taking part)

Local enterprise, economy, tourism

To work in partnership to help Boston become stronger, resilient and forward thinking, with an entrepreneurial spirit and successful enterprise culture.

The activities that have been given priority cluster around these headings:

  • Making more of Boston’s history and tourism (this is the highest score for any activity across all themes)
  • Accessible grants for local groups
  • Encouraging enterprise among local people.

It seems that:

  • Small grants pots for activity and enterprise are very popular. The first can be responded to through a community chest grants pot for example for between £500 and £1000 grants. The second links to the partnership with UnLtD and enterprise awards could be advertised through the community chest.
  • A fuller enquiry could be made and funded in the initial plan about how to support a community enterprise type hub. The existing Boosting the Local Economy working group could be well placed to take this on.
  • Economic inclusion and links to credit unions are matters raised in theme one that may best fit here in theme 4.

The theme of encouraging enterprise has a great deal of potential for informing and influencing others and this may indicate that Boston Big Local should look to sustain and build upon the Boosting the Local Economy working group and activity in order to priorities and take on some of these issues, While free parking and another supermarket and cheap clothes and household goods store are not among the priorities of those residents who took part, there is strong agreement on other priorities for Boston Big Local to inform and influence others about, including lower parking prices, an information centre, help to Blackfriars, utilising the river for access and tourism.

Next steps

Boston Big Local is now set to develop relationships with potential partners helping to realise the vision and deliver on the plan when created and approved. It is ready to build a partnership board based on residents within the Boston Big Local area. It is ready to draft the delivery plan. Boston Big Local hopes to have a draft completed for discussion by the New Year and finalised so that it can be approved and launched in April 2015.