Category Archives: What’s changed

The whole purpose of Big Kirk Hallam is to help make a difference and support residents to make Kirk Hallam an even better place to live. So here you can find out more about what the money has been spent on, what activity has taken place and what has changed as a result.

Big KH newsletter April 2020

Here is our latest newsletter – our 17th and one that comes to you in uncertain and troubling times, but times that also show the strength and resilience, love and care that are at the heart of our community of Kirk Hallam.

This newsletter comes with our thanks and our best wishes to you all. It included a summary of the community review we did last year and it includes the headlines for you of the new plan we are putting together and which should be launched in July.


Monkey Trouble playgroup

We recently visited Monkey trouble playgroup to see how they are getting along. Sarah Draper who runs the group proudly told us that the group was now full with a waiting list of families wanting to access the sessions.


Sarah, a local resident, volunteers along with 3 other residents, to ensure that the group is up and running every Friday morning. This means that she is at the Community Centre at around 8.00am getting all the toys and equipment out

Here is the room all set up and ready to go

When we were there it was very busy but we managed to speak to some of the parents. Here is a selection of what they had to say

“Im new to the area and a first time mum. I’ve made lots of friends and I love coming here”

“It gets me out of the house – its good to socialised my child gets to play with different toys what we have at home”

“Coming here gives me my sanity back – we are a good group and we support and help each other”

“It has made my child more independent for when she starts nursery”

‘It helps the children learn and develop”

The Group meets every Friday in term time between 9am and 11am in the main hall at the community centre. It costs £1 per child and 50p per adult – snacks and drinks included.

Big Kirk Hallam fund the hall rental for the 2 hours the session runs for

As we were leaving Sarah said “There is a great sense of community within the group – it is friendly and welcoming. On a personal level I really enjoy giving something back to the community.”

It was really lovely to visit and to see such a well run peer led group. All of the children looked like they were having a great time and it was good to see the parents and carers engaged with their children and also with each other. The parents and carers spoke about how coming to the group and chatting about issues they were having with their children really helps as someone is likely to have been in that situation, or their child had that illness previously. There was a genuine feeling of community spirit and support in the room


Well done sarah and all who attend Monkey Trouble for making it such a special group

Young people and Big Kirk Hallam – from strength to strength

Here is a short story we have recently put together, tracking just some of the inspirational ways children and young people have been involved with Big Kirk Hallam since it started in December 2012.

Being there at the start

Young people have been involved from the very start of Big Kirk Hallam and throughout its progress since. They have been a vital force, representing wider community needs and those of their peers. They have been community activists, campaigners, journalists and ambassadors for their community as well for Big Kirk Hallam.

Energising community consultation

Young people contributed to the initial scoping of community priorities, including on tough and often hidden issues about responding to drugs and alcohol and to vandalism. Dallimore students shared their views in the same week that Big Local was launched in Kirk Hallam. So did students from Ladywood. They did this through small focus groups, art work, photographs and picture books and recorded thoughts on video; they undertook, designed, distributed, collated and shared findings of a survey to 1200 students. The young people from the academy linked with and supported students from the two primary schools in sharing the things they liked and those they wanted to see improved in Kirk Hallam. In 2016, when reviewing progress, many young people took part in a survey to help build the new plan.

Making sense of the background profile

Young people from the academy took on the challenge of interpreting the long and detailed community profile and created a range of visual resources that are still around in Kirk Hallam to share with residents more easily the key findings and messages that underpinned the plan.

Taking part in the action

Young people soon moved from contributing and sharing ideas to taking in projects and getting involved in the action. By May 2013, two young people joined the first community chest panel and worked for many months with adult residents in agreeing grants to local groups from start-up moneys available before the first plan was launched. Young people and adults had longed championed the call for a skatepark in Kirk Hallam and as this pressure grew, one young person, Matt Betesta, took the initiative to galvanise opinion and share designs and watch over its construction. More recently, Sylvie Humphreys campaigned for and gained a reading shed for Ladywood primary school, an initiative now modelled also at Dallimore school.

Gaining from the activities

Some of the best ambassadors for Big Kirk Hallam have been the young, especially those from the two primary schools, in large part because they have lived the benefits of a whole range of activities, projects, trips and resources. Some, such as the skatepark and youth club, arose from much inter-generational collaboration and lobbying. And though the youth club struggled in its latter stages, the early success included regular attendance of about 70 young people. The passport, campout and Fishy Friday school meals are just some of the myriad of activities supported through Big Kirk Hallam.

Sharing the story

Young people from the Academy have had significant involvement in sharing the news of Big Local in Kirk Hallam and further afield right from the start. A dedicated group became part of the communications hub, contributing stories to newsletters and the website and sharing through social media. Young people also took part in national Big Local events, taking the one in Nottingham by storm and contributing to one in Birmingham on young people’s involvement in Big Local. They featured in national Big Local newsletters and case studies. More recently, in October 2017, Big Kirk Hallam was represented by two young people at the Big Local national event held in Allenton, Derby. Sylvie Humphreys and Matt Betesta spoke of their involvement in Big Kirk Hallam and Sylvie took part in the reporting and creating of a newsletter for all participants on the day itself.

Helping run things

From the earliest days, young residents of Big Kirk Hallam have not only helped build the community conversation and taken part in a wide range of activities and projects. Some have also wanted to get involved in running Big Kirk Hallam itself. In recognition of this, Big Kirk Hallam’s partnership constitution of May 2014 ensured two reserved places for those 12 – 17. Matt Betesta has been on the partnership since 2016 and Sylvie Humphreys joined in early 2017, once she was 12 years old. They are full partnership members, with equal responsibilities and voting rights. Matt Betesta has been Co-vice-chair since 2017. Looking ahead, the partnership and the three local schools are working together to scope a model for a young people’s forum to share their views on what should be happening and how things should be run.

Annual Report August 2017 – July 2018

Here is our Annual Report for year 4 of our plan

It includes updates on all of the projects we have funded during the year; notification of our Big Thank You and AGM on 20 October; notification of the Christmas event on 1 December; details of projects funded through the community chest during the year; an interview with one of our young Partnership Group members Sylvie Humphreys and our financial report for the year.


Knit and natter

Jsan popped into knit and natter today to have a look at the projects being made – check out the photos – and also heard from Julie who showed her the blanket she had just finished

“When I started coming to the group in January I couldn’t crochet at all and now I have made this blanket. Everyone in the group is so supportive and they have all helped and advised me. i’ve learnt about different needles and wools. Coming to the group has made me feel great and I have 3 or projects already planned for the next few months. I like the company and look forward to coming each week. The sense of achievement is amazing.”

Well done Julie – the blanket looks great! 😊 You should be very proud.

Knit and natter is a great group to come to, everyone is welcome. It meets on Monday mornings at the community centre 9.00 – midday with free tea, coffee and squash

What’s changed – looking back at the success of Monkey Trouble

The Monkey Trouble Parent and Toddler group is run through Big Kirk Hallam Community Centre in response to Quality of Life theme and Supporting Families priority in the Big Kirk Hallam plan.

The initial aims of the group have been to get it up and running, make sure parents and carers know about it and can come to it and as a result increase the sense of community spirit and feeling supported and more resilience.

From the March 2018 report to the partnership, these aims are being met. Alisya Hill from BKHCC says that more than 25 children are coming with their parents and carers and is run by two volunteer parents. They provide a different craft activity every week as well as using the centre’s toys. They now provide healthy snacks for the children as well as hot drinks for the parents; these are now kindly donated by the local Co-Op. They also now charge £1.00 per child as this allows them to put on occasional extra entertainment as well as buying each of the children a gift at Christmas.

Numbers continue to grow, so that the group has now moved to the Main Hall to have more space.

The group is making a positive difference. The children get to play together and the parents get to take a breather and get to know other local parents. The social aspect of the group is huge with new friends being made all the time. The group and especially the two volunteer parents are very welcoming and everyone joins in making it a very enjoyable group. Big Kirk Hallam also gave the group £250 through the community chest which has been used to buy new toys.

What’s changed – looking back at the success of the community chest

The community chest started way back in 2013 when the then steering group were impatient to get funding to small groups even before their first community plan was approved.

Using of the start-up money, the partnership developed the community chest as a small funding pot for applications up to £1000 from local groups, for residents and backed by residents.

The community chest has been running ever since, with three or more rounds each year, attracting a wide range of inspiring applications covering activity across Big Kirk Hallam’s four main themes of Things to do and places to go, Access and the Environment, Quality of life and Education and training.

The guidance for any newcomers is here: Guidance and information notes June 2017 onwards.docx

Look back at the last two rounds gives a great flavour of the range and diversity of bids:

£500 to 21st Ilkeston Scout Group for various activities such as climbing, abseiling, archery, trampoline, sailing

£778.40 to Warm Welcome Club for a trip to the peak district, including lunch

£500 to All Saints Church for a trip for 50 residents to Skegness

£1000 to Parkside High for a skate themed family fun day around the skatepark

£900 to All Saints Church for a Royal Wedding Street party along the church driveway

£150 to Big Kirk Hallam Community Centre for toys and games for older children for the Stay and Play sessions

£953 to This Girl Can at Ladywood Primary School supporting the 5 ambassadors and a range of activity

£1000 for football coaching at Ladywood Primary School

£910 for a trip to Conkers for 1st Kirk Hallam Brownies

£652 for Boys Adventure (Wild explorers) at Ladywood Primary School

£800 for Junior Leaders at Ladywood Primary School

These small sums continue to make a big difference as this lovely feedback from Ladywood shows:

“Thank you for letting us know (about the successful applications). We felt the interviews went really well. Our children and parents are a credit to us. Their passion for the projects they’re involved in is really admirable. The grants are making a real difference to our community, including our school community. Without Big Kirk Hallam’s help, we wouldn’t be able to support our residents so extensively.”

What’s changed – looking back at the success of Stay and Play

The aim is to have regular stay and play sessions on a weekly basis in the school holidays to meet, share, play, cook and provide lunch bags, reducing isolation and offering practical support to families.

“It’s brilliant – it helps that it is free because money is tight and you can spend a fortune keeping the kids entertained.” (Parent)

Big Kirk Hallam has long been concerned about support to children and families in the holidays. After much exploring of options, looking at what another Big Local area had done and seizing the opportunity of partnership with Fare Share and Derbyshire County Council, the Stay and Play Holiday club was set up with the commitment and energy of residents, the plan co-ordinator and community centre development worker.

“We’re on a low income so the free food bag is a real help. If we had to pay for the session we wouldn’t be able to attend.” (Parent)

The sessions run between 10.00am and 1.00pm, providing a range of craft activities as well as toys and games, encouraging children to play together and sharing activities with their parent or carer. Parents have commented:

“It’s good that there is something for the littler ones too – wish it were more often.”

“It’s good because it gets the kids out of the house and away from the TV.”

“My children love it.”

The sessions provide an opportunity for parents and carers to meet up in a social situation, combating social isolation often experienced during school holidays. As the activities and food are provided free of charge the aim is to combat holiday hunger, food poverty, boredom and social isolation. Healthy snacks, as well as lunch bags, are provided for each child, much appreciated by those taking part.

“My son is an only child so it’s a good way for him to socialise.”

“Food is always good, fresh and tasty.”

“The lunch bags are a good idea.”

Stay and Play attracted 82 children and 40 adults during February half term with a Chinese New Year theme, including making Chinese dragons and money bags. Over the Easter holidays there were over 50 children at each session. The themes were Easter and spring and the craft activities included making Easter baskets, spring puppets and garden decorations. The children also made hot cross buns.

“We enjoy it and the kids like doing different things.”