These three months have seen big steps forward that set Boston Big Local on target for submitting its plan by the end of February 2015.
In October, a community event was held at Age UK in the Boston Big Local area to seek people’s views on the emerging vision, aims and themes. Over 70 people took part with a further 109 contributing survey responses undertaken by Boston College students. The general direction was approved, priority activities under each theme identified and a broad allocation of spend proposed. A number of residents also expressed interest in helping to run Boston Big Local.
Based on the results of the October community consultation, the activities were linked to emerging priority areas for each theme. In December over 35 people from potential partner organisations then took part in a meeting to scope what was happening already and what more should be done and by whom to respond to the priorities. The results of this successful event were both in drawing partner agencies into the vision and aims of Boston Big Local as well as identifying front runners to contribute to the initial plan.
The Steering Group had been supporting Boston Big Local over the last 18 months and at its meeting in November a motion was put and passed with one abstention that the group should disband having accomplished its task so that a resident partnership could form and determine its rules and constitution, including how and who to involve among workers and other interested parties. A core group of 4 residents from within the Boston Big Local area provided continuity, ably supported by the facilitator and LTO chair.
The new group met twice before Christmas, gaining understanding of the partnership role and undertaking a vital cross check of draft activities and budget and potential partners.
Before the break, Boston Big Local was able to issue to some potential partners an activity planning form, with a deadline of responses being 15 January. It also published on its website the draft Boston Big Local plan.
Looking to the New Year, the first task on 15 January is to form the new partnership and agree a draft constitution. Second, the returned plans from potential partners will be presented for discussion to them and the results feed into the detail of the plan. 4 community events are planned for February to share the draft before tweaking and submission.
Developments these last three months has been encouraging. Some factors in this include: a core group increasing in understanding of the programme as a whole; careful building of priorities and spend profile through a community event in October; positive media coverage by and large and a better profile through the website; very supportive involvement of the Local Trusted Organisation’s Chief Executive; an early draft of the plan in Oct showing progress and realisable time frame to submission; the steering group’s decision to stand down in November so that only those who are residents of the BBL area work to build the rules of the emerging partnership; a bold and successful event with 35 partners seeking out those who are in a position to work to the vision and deliver on the community priorities; fantastic energy and engagement of the new shadow partnership of residents really getting into the detail of the plan, partnership and budget; consistent and creative project management by the facilitator / plan coordinator; positive vibes and a real boost on the back of the successful Boosting the Local Economy event.