Last week, at Age UK and around the centre of the town, we held a community consultation event to review and refine what we know already about the vision, themes and priorities for action for Boston Big Local. It was a real pleasure to be part of the team. My personal top ten headlines from the day are:

  • 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 (when we have digested the info) 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 in here: about ten minutes in.
  • We have typed up all the surveys from the students and done the figures on apportioning the money across the four themes. We are writing up the prioritising of activities and a report will be available for the next meeting of the steering group on 30 October, 6.30 pm at the Black Sluice.

Access the Radio Interview via Google+

The Community Consultation Events at AGE UK

The Community Consultation Event at AGE UK

Local Residents Selecting Projects

Local Residents Selecting Projects