Local Rep Report October – December 2020
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.
Just as I review the last three months, we’ve gone into another national lockdown. Once again family, friends and neighbours will be facing increased social, emotional, financial and practical difficulties. But our experience to date gives renewed hope through the resilience of residents and the connections in our in communities offering so much kindness and support; together you will see this through. If you have a moment, take a look at the message from Matt Leach and what he has seen of the solidarity and strength shown by Big Local communities in the face of the crisis. This is backed by the COVID-19 research project, summarised in Rob Macmillan’s blog.
Meanwhile, Local Trust continues to look to support your area as best it can in these harsh circumstances, mainly through online support groups:
- Loneliness across the life cycle: stories and lessons from Big Local areas on Thursday 28th January 2021 between 10:00-12:00
- Community responses to mental health on Wednesday 20th January at 9:30am
- Community sports and activity. The first workshop is split into two parts and being held on Tuesday 19th January 10:00-12:00 and Tuesday 26th January 10:00-12:00
- Promoting Digital Inclusion on the Wednesday 10th February at 9:30.
Priorities and achievements looking back includerunning things well and responding to emerging resident need during the pandemic through close working with the community and partner organisation.
The partnership remains on top of running and managing things, meeting every month via Zoom to review the plan and the finances. Minutes are posted on the website. Plan delivery continues broadly on track and budget, with some reshaping of delivery to help people stay safe. Quarterly management reports are reviewed and these and the service level agreements are on the website along with good news stories of local action and change and newsletters. Short videos from partners add a personal touch. The partnership is looking to update and develop its communications in the coming month by bringing in additional expertise. During the autumn, Allenton Big Local completed its annual partnership review, confirming it is working in line with national programme requirements. It also submitted its report outlining the intended legacy of Big Local in Allenton after funding has finished and the costed vision showing how all investment is intended to be made.
Allenton Big Local and partners continue to support local families with food, cleaning products and toiletries, as well as personal support to combat isolation. Partners continue to adapt in seeking ways to respond to resident need. Enthusiasm continues its group and mentoring support with young people. The Multi Use Games Area is complete. The work club has struggled especially during Lockdown.
St Martin’s and Chatter Box Café set up a programme over the Christmas period providing food and support to older residents. It has been very warmly welcomed. Allenton Big Local committed funding for preparing and delivery of 30 meals a week for eight weeks. On average 38 meals were delivered each week, with the extra cost covered by St Martin’s. The Neighbourhood Board has also provided additional funding to keep the scheme going to the New Year. In addition, the partnership approved £1,500 for St Martin’s to co-ordinate the purchase and distribution of toys to families who are struggling. By early December, over 70 referrals had been received via Moorhead and Allenton schools, Lord Street Nursery, Enthusiasm and Nacro.
Key priorities looking ahead include keeping on supporting local families, opening up further support services as social distancing allows, continuing to run things smoothly in the partnership and being ready to bounce back once the worst is passed, including exploring future options regarding sustainability.
The adaptability and continuing availability of core services for at risk and vulnerable people is inspiring. For example, Enthusiasm continues to run a very full programme of youth work projects in the Allenton area, gaining additional funding recently from Children in Need to deliver a number of BETA programmes (Bravery Excellence Teamwork Adventure) for young people providing additional support and development opportunities through this structured young leader development programme.