April – June 2017
As your Big Local Rep, every three months I share my thoughts on local area progress with you as residents and with the central team managing the national programme. Your comments and thoughts are always welcome.
The partnership continues to meet monthly and partner agreements, reports on activities, minutes of meetings and stories of action and change are posted on the website. Financial recording and reporting are sound, giving the partnership a secure basis for its decision making.
Big Kirk Hallam is in a good place with the new partnership bedded down and working very well through the chair, Tracy Thorpe, the two vice-chairs Rev Christine French and Matt Betesta, the refreshed partnership group, the plan co-ordinator Jsan Shepherd and the Academy as Local Trusted Organisation through Vice Principal Aidan Smith. One new resident member, Alex Harris, joined the partnership recently, bringing bags of experience as resident activist and community nurse, with knowledge and passion for the local area.
Big Kirk Hallam now has an office based at the Big Kirk Hallam community centre and is enjoying the growing partnership with its management committee and new development worker, Alisya Hill.
The exciting growing use of the community centre has raised some concerns from immediate local residents and Jsan and Alisya have met with them to seek a resolution acceptable all round.
The big event in June was the grand opening of the Big Kirk Hallam community centre. This was planned to coincide with the day of the Great Get Together, events organised across the country in remembrance of Jo Cox and the work she did to bring commentaries together. There was a good crowd and an exciting range of activities for all ages running between 12 and 4pm. With the sadness and anxiety caused by Derbyshire County Council withdrawing from running the sure start and children’s centre, the opening indicated the start of a new era with volunteers, local groups and centre staff organising toddler groups, exercise classes and other activities not seen on the estate for some time.
Big Kirk Hallam’s 10th newsletter was published and distributed to every household in June, remembering with great sadness the life of Hazel Cooper. It also contained valuable updates on the community centre and what residents said in response to a survey about future use, including wanting a range of activities with a community focus and support for those needing particular help to get by.
Recent stories of what’s changed on the website are an inspiring read covering a wide range of activities across the ages. Debra Ward shared her joy about attending the grandparent’s lunch at Dallimore Primary School. Students at Ladywood Primary School wrote to share how funding from Big Kirk Hallam had supported drumming sessions, dinner with grandparents, promoting junior leaders and reading buddies. Other recent stories include the E-cadets scheme to promote online safety, Ladywood savings club, the Passport scheme, the kinship project supporting a number of families in need, the Warm Welcome Club for older residents and support to young carers where Action for Children is now working regularly in all 3 schools and young carers are being identified and referred to the service for 1:1 support, group work and some social activities.
The next round of the community chest is now open and working to a simpler and regular pattern of application and closing dates. In August, the next round of activity reports will be read and reviewed by the partnership, bringing to a close this funding year. Plans are being put in place for a round of visits to partners to share progress and build toward the next AGM in December. In October, some young people and adults are contributing to the national event in Allenton, Derby on involving young people in Big Local.
Many of the activities are going extremely well. One innovative project was praised by Mel Lawson, head at Ladywood. She described the e-Cadets as a scheme to help promote online safety which trains and empowers children within the school to teach others about how to keep safe online. The e-Cadets feel proud of their role and empowered to be able to teach their classes. It has put greater emphasis on the importance of Online Safety within the school and is already making learners reflect on how they conduct themselves online and how they can keep themselves safe.