Category Archives: Whats changed 2018

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.”