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.
Recent activity and successes for Big Kirk Hallam are overshadowed by the death of partnership member and friend to many, Dave Addis. Our thoughts are with the family over these difficult coming weeks.
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. The latest newsletter was published in July and circulated to ever household.
With the Academy now being run by NOVA, the Local Trusted Organisation responsibilities have been transferred across to them as Big Kirk Hallam’s accountable body. The new headteacher, Mark Watts and the Executive Head Teacher, Chris James, have both been very supportive of the arrangement and how it can benefit Big Kirk Hallam, the Academy and the community, stressing they recognised the importance of community and engagement with the community.
As the Local Rep, I have recently shared a blog on how Big Local is managed and run to ensure resident led action and sound governance and transparent accountability.
The summer was very busy and highly successful. Between 50 and 80 children took part each week for the five weeks of Stay and Play, accompanied by at least one parent or carer. Parents took increased responsibility for helping run the sessions. Each family took away Fare Share snacks and lunch bags. Baking and cooking were very popular. Thanks to growing interest and support from various sources, this success led onto Free Food Friday, with 751 bundles of food and household items given out. And a third activity, a children’s cinema, attracted 16 – 34 each week and again included free snacks and food. The partnership remains committed to these successful approaches to help combat poverty and isolation but is outspoken in its concern at the underlying causes of such need in the community.
Another successful round of the community chest led to awards to Big Kirk Hallam Community Centre, Warm Welcome Club, Ladywood Primary School, Friends of Lake and Meadows, 21st Ilkeston Scouts and to 1st Kirk Hallam Brownies.
The Community Centre is seeing new bookings, including from Insight Mental Health and Aspire Wrestling (very popular!) and increased usage from established groups like the café and Knit and Natter. The community garden has proved a popular project. New members have joined the committee and a revised constitution developed.
Big Kirk Hallam is holding its AGM and Big Thank you in October. The Christmas celebration will happen as a separate event. And residents are once again committed to ensure a Christmas lunch is put on for those in Kirk Hallam who are lonely and isolated and are applying to the community chest for funding.