Posts tagged ‘Big Society’

06/06/2011

Our second full month (oops we’re a few days late!)

1. What’s been going well so far and why?

So far the response to our project seems to have been overwhelmingly positive. The key group members have been given a boost by the support from NCVO and the funding has allowed us to begin an exciting journey which will take us down paths previously unavailable to a group with no income.

The fete was a huge success, combining a celebration of success with an information-giving event for members of the community who are new or have not heard about what we are doing. Bill, our community-organiser was in attendance and was able to meet lots of people and hopefully start lots of positive relationships.

It was great to have so many new volunteers involved in planning the day, and we were overwhelmed with offers of help on the day. Thanks so much every body! (Though it would have been great if someone could have stopped the wind!)

The temporary community centre is almost ready… and that is so exciting for us all!

2. What are the most challenging things you’ve faced so far and why?

One of the hardest things has been the amount of extra time that has been required. In the initial stages there has been a lot of administration which is tome consuming. The application to become a registered charity, a lot of administration the Neighbourhood challenge work stream, completing surveys and even writing blog entries!

While we respect these things are really important, they can feel like the less fun tasks take precious time away from ‘on the ground’ activities. Hopefully new volunteers that love admin will come forward!

One of the big challenges we face is that as a predominantly voluntary group the hours people give are their precious personal time (often giving up hours will families and children). When someone asks for last minute additional information, or changes a plan and we need to respond immediately that means someone giving up there evening, or lunch break to meet a deadline and that can be really hard. It’s something that local authorities, media and others really need to think about with the advent of the big society – if people are volunteering they are likely to be doing it in outside work hours. As such they need adequate time manage those tasks. Its not like when you at work and can be asked to drop everything as your getting paid.

3. How have the community been involved in the project set up so far?

We are gathering new ‘active’ members all the time, with new people coming forward to take on roles such as running the newsletter, taking surveys, organising fundraising etc.

4. Has anything surprising happened, within or around your project so far?

Completing the research project for Icarus has enabled us to talk to community members in a focussed manner, drawing out information which we might never have gained. This has led to offers of help from people who might never have otherwise realised how they can contribute. Individual ideas from community members have started to come through which are really nice to see and people are taking responsibility for organising their own activities (someone has set up some guided walks).