December Report

 

What’s happened this month?

Another terrific month of localism in action as the fledgling networks, associations and groups continue to flourish. Use of the community hub remains encouragingly strong and participation in activities, events, public meetings and seasonal functions has been inspiring. Issues relating to section 106 and Council service issues have again seen strong activism and representation at a local level and the pressure exerted has led to a shift in one Council’s policies. External Fundraising successes have resulted in new youth services being launched and in the face of broad sweeping cuts elsewhere the growth has been a measure of the advances the Group has made in such a short time. A comprehensive community consultation exercise was completed and near to a 40% response rate was achieved. The results will be helping to formulate our local community plan and helping in the fundraising drive for sustainability beyond the neighbourhood challenge year. The new social enterprises established through our Dragons Den events have been moving from strength to strength and look well set for the future.          

What have you learnt this month?

The key to achieving the scale of local activism is to retain a central co-ordinating role and support base. Tying all the various strands together on a platform of pure volunteering time isn’t viable. The Neighbourhood Challenge experience has mobilised many people and to galvanise and sustain a level of commitment and involvement it needs a “glue to hold it together”.    

What’s been challenging this month?

Keeping the community hub functioning and meeting heightened expectations is an on-going challenge. The benchmark has now been set high with a number of groups and networks taking off. Ensuring everything is safe, compliant and able to develop is a bit of a juggling act. Local problems relating to the development of (or lack of!) section 106 investment is still an uphill struggle and often unnavigable for many local people. The pressing issue is with the end of neighbourhood challenge in sight that the bubble may well be set to pop. The year has created so much growth and opportunity and resource wise it’s potentially all set to fall flat in May. In turn this could lead to a severely detrimental impact at a local level which will be a sad legacy following all the terrific work to date. At programme development level we recommend that greater weight be provided to help support groups with solutions and exit processes and to help to alleviate and post neighbourhood challenge crash.           

What are you proud of this month?

So many things…… Local people organising a bucket full of seasonal events and activities that saw the community hub packed solid with happiness, laughter and joy. New alliances, friendships and groups being established to meet shared interest and needs -from sports events to solving car sharing or childcare needs. Having over 30 people turning out on a freezing cold and wet Friday evening on the eve of Xmas to discuss plans for new play facilities in the community.  Getting such a fantastic response rate from the community consultation and the knowledge gained is gold dust as a platform for growth. The process was community led and delivered through every stage from planning and testing the survey through to delivering and collecting door to door. Community Pride and Passion is alive and kicking in Coopers Edge!!

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