Category Archives: Community conversations

Big Kirk Hallam takes part in community engagement research

Big Kirk Hallam is one of 150 areas in England which is part of the Big Local programme, supporting residents in control. As a partnership we gain a lot from other areas and want to share our own journey for others to gain from.

Local Trust asked NCVO to look into community engagement within Big Local areas – what makes it work, what are the challenges and what are the practical ways to overcome these. Big Kirk Hallam took part in the research and was pleased to share our experiences, our hopes and successes, our challenges and frustrations.

The Big Kirk Hallam case study is here along with others:

· http://localtrust.org.uk/library/case-studies/

There is also the overall report and blog here:

· http://localtrust.org.uk/library/research-and-evaluation/community-engagement/

· http://localtrust.org.uk/news/blogs/getting-people-involved-in-big-local

“To reach everyone, you have to have a printed newsletter through every door about four times a year even if some don’t get read. To be accountable to residents you need face-to-face opportunities through being seen at others’ events and running your own. To share and discuss plans, you need to work with interested groups and bring the findings to a larger event. To keep a record, you need to see the web as both a live communications tool and an archive.”

Kirk Hallam engagement case study (Final .pdf

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Community engagement at the heart of Big Kirk Hallam

Recently, Deb James from NCVO has been looking at Big Kirk Hallam’s approach to community engagement on behalf of the national Big Local programme.

She then asked the partnership what had influenced the approach to engagement it had taken since the start in early 2013. The partnership talked about this at its April meeting and its response is below. We hope this matches with how residents and partners see how Big Kirk Hallam has worked.

It’s what we’ve always done.

The group recalled the very first meeting the Big Local rep facilitated in January 2013. At the meeting a number of the current partnership were present and remember the exploration of the different ways community members could be involved, with Bill brandishing a bike wheel and suggesting the rim of wider community interest, the spokes of people taking the strain of the action and the small hub connecting these to moving forward. This picture has remained with the partnership, seeking to ensure (rim) large numbers know of and feel connected to Big Kirk Hallam through newsletters, website, events etc, drawing on the (spokes) strengths, skills and commitment of those leading on the action by building vibrant partnerships and clear agreements on who is doing what and to what purpose and retaining a committed and connected (hub) partnership with the majority of residents retaining the vision and giving direction.

What else could we do!

As a group of residents, connected and involved in Kirk Hallam, the partnership feels it was the only way to go. Looking back members simply said “what else could we do?” Thus arose in the partnership a combination of methods. To reach everyone, you have to have a printed newsletter through every door about 4 times a year even if some don’t get read. To be accountable to residents you need face to face opportunities through being seen at others’ events and running your own. To share and discuss plans, you need to work with interested groups and bring the findings to a larger event. To keep a record, you need to see the web as both a live communications tool and an archive. As the chair said, “It’s all there from the very start.”

We had to make a difference from the very start.

For the partnership, it follows from the above that it could not wait until plan approval before making an impact but wanted to and needed to start even in a small way at the earliest opportunity. So within 4 months, it had agreed to apportion half of the Getting Started money (£10,000 out of the £20,000) to the community chest. This meant by June in that first year, funding was already going out to local groups and projects.

We have a story to tell.

The chair describes how the Big Local rep went on (and on) about telling the story, but when the partnership was just starting out, it was not clear what this meant or why it might be important. But Big Kirk Hallam did record and report openly on everything it did from the start through its website and then through other methods like newsletters, email, Twitter and Facebook and events. Looking back, the partnership is proud of its record and that what it has done is open to public scrutiny. It believes that its approach has reinforced success, celebrating what people have done and how Big Kirk Hallam has helped them do it. It hopes and believes that this in turn has been a positive example that others have followed, further building the community engagement at the heart of what Big Kirk Hallam stands for and is proud of.

Community event develops new plan

On Friday 4 March 2016, the Community Hall was busy with 30 residents and partner organisations hearing what had been achieved and building on these strengths for the next plan due in August this year.

Looking back

Jsan Shepherd outlined the many successes, with people sharing their own experiences of what has worked well and helped bring changes.

Here is Jsan’s full presentation:

BKH consultation event 2016 march

The youth club has engaged lots of young people through a range of activities and active support from workers. The young people said “There is always stuff on. It cheers you up after a bad day.” And “Since it started there are less people hanging around at the shops and it’s really helped the community.”

The Mobile Fli Park has also been a great success. Nick and AK, the organisers, described how “The feeling from kids and parents is really positive, coming together to have a great time and getting involved. It’s something to do and gets people out and getting more exercise.”

Hearing from the two Primary Schools showed how important it is to have people who no only have great ideas but who help make them happen. Mel Lawson and Rachel Crowther, the head teachers from Ladywood and Dallimore, described how the Passport Project follows the children through their journey and encourages activity in school, in the community like planting bulbs and at home. “The Haka day linked to the rugby world cup and they all went on the field and learnt it.” “The Camp out involved 60 year 6 children from both schools, sleeping in tents under the stars, learning bush craft, eating camp food – and worms. It was a very cold night but that did not stop them getting up very early. They loved the star gazing. Camp Dallywood had the children making new friends from across the two schools and we are excited about the next one.” One child summed up: “This has encouraged me to do anything.”

Big Kirk Hallam is also passionate about supporting people who may be isolated or with additional needs. Laura told us about Art at the HeART, supporting people’s wellbeing through 1-1 and group sessions with an artist. While numbers are low, the impact has been high. With one older person, “It helped give the family some lovely memories of her last years of life. With two others we saw a real change in their sense of what they could achieve and gave them more focus to their day.” One person said “You’ve given me a purpose to living and I don’t have the same suicidal thoughts as before.

The Children’s Savings Club is also growing, with one boy having been very pleased at having saved £100 to buy Lego that he wanted. The girls at Ladywood also are the bankers, collecting the money and passing it to staff.

The Community Chest goes from strength to strength, with a new round just open. The presentations are becoming stronger, with one group of girls coming and presenting to the panel themselves. Great stories include 120 students and the cyclo cross and Dallimore students taking part in Chines New Year Celebrations: “The children had an absolutely brilliant night. They were amazing, with Year 6 boys dancing with ribbons and street performing.”

Community events and celebrations continue to play a key part in the plan with Big Kirk Hallam supporting 4 of these and hoping to help establish the Summer Fun Festival on the calendar with its popular mix of football tournament, skate park, climbing wall, trampoline, medals, trophies and stalls.

Looking ahead

Big Kirk Hallam is proud of contributing to help make the area an even better place to live. Theft, robbery and anti-social behaviour is down. Community spirit and cohesion are up. One resident said of recent changes in Kirk Hallam that “It’s like someone has gone through and cleaned it all up.” But times are tough and getting tougher for many residents and as we look ahead, focus on quality of life remains central to our vision.

The plan for August 2016 – 18 will build on these successes and look to respond to new opportunities and challenges. Big Kirk Hallam hopes to find effective means to respond more to the needs of older residents, including through a dementia support programme coordinated by Community Concern Erewash. A food bank or co-op is also being explored given increasing levels of hardship. We are also exploring welcome signs as you drive into the area and flower beds. A Big Kirk Games is also being looked into, along with funding a youth shelter as part of the skatepark development which has the green light and funding secured.

Community Conversation / Consultation event Friday 4 March 5.30pm Kirk Hallam Community Hall

We are holding our community conversation and consultation event this Friday 4 March at 5.30pm at the Community Hall on Kenilworth Road. There will be light refreshments and everyone is welcome.

We will be sharing our successes so far; delivery partners and residents benefiting from the projects will be sharing what the projects have meant for them and we will be looking forward to the next 2 years of the 10 year programme.

We look forward to seeing you on Friday

If you are unable to attend then keep a look out for our next newsletter due out in April where we will give an update on the consultation event and the plans for years 3 and 4

poster consultation event march 2016.pdf

Thank you to Big Kirk Hallam

We have received the following 2 messages of thanks following funding donations to All Saints Summer Fete Garden Party and the Lakeside Festival.

Esther Colington, Treasurer of the Friends of Kirk Hallam Lake wrote

“ The Friends of Kirk Hallam Lake would like to thank Big Kirk Hallam for the grant of £500 towards the Lakeside Festival. The event was another huge success with many people coming from both near and far to enjoy this popular local Festival”

The Reverend Christine French, the Priest in Charge of All Saints wrote

“I just wanted to express my sincere thanks for yourselves attending our recent Summer Fete Garden party on 14th June at the Community hall in Kirk Hallam, added to this another heart felt thank you for the kind donation of £300.

Kirk Hallam is a very special place and I hope over the years to come that we can join together for the benefit of the community, especially to empower them and to support them to reach their potential”

The fetes and festivals across Kirk Hallam play an important part in celebrating the community spirit that is at the heart of Kirk Hallam and Big Kirk Hallam is very proud to be able to support these events both by contributing funding and by attending to meet with residents. This year we have made funding contributions to The Lakeside Festival; Harvest Moon Festival; Summer Fun Festival; Childrens Centre Christmas Party, Easter party and Summer Fun Day; and All Saints Summer Fete Garden Party.