Update on Baildon Town Council's Community Development Funding 2018/19 by Sarah Baxter
I started delivery of this work in April. My focus initially was community consultation in order to shape the services and activities that we would offer.
We worked with Ian Dobson at Roberts Park at the World Heritage Day event on 21st April. St Hugh's ran a 'Street Games' tent and over 6000 people visited on the day. This gave us a great opportunity to talk to local people about what services they would like to see in this area.
Views were collected at a Neighbourhood Forum in July.
Views have been collected from our newly installed suggestion box in the lobby.
I collected views from our existing St Hugh's groups by sitting in on sessions and distributing questionnaires.
1. Parents were worried about how they would fund the long summer holidays
2. Older people wanted an affordable opportunity to learn computer skills
3. The local bus service was problematic
4. Older people wanted more opportunities to socialise locally
5. Parents wanted more local children's after school activities
6. Older people wanted opportunities for health activities designed for their mobility.
To respond to these objectives, we offered the following:
1. We started the Holiday Hunger Lunchbox scheme, particularly to target parents with children on free school meal places. We offered local parents the opportunity to collect a free bag of food items (mostly for lunches but including cereal, milk, etc) twice a week from St Hugh's. We only recorded postcodes to make the process as easy and accessible as possible. The food was sourced by donations from our three churches, the general public, the WI and users of the Centre. We were overwhelmed with the response. In all we provided 180 lunches over the summer break. Councillor Jane Dunn and Pam Ruppe helped me run tables at the Higher Coach Road Bus Terminus and Roberts Park. Oddly we learned that taking the table out into the community was not helpful – it was too open and the response was not what we expected. However, this is useful information for a repeat of the scheme next year.
2. I asked 'Worth Connecting' if they would provide tablet classes at St Hugh's. They work with the over 55s so their offer was perfect for us. The first course started in April with 8 learners from our local area. The course was well received. Learners needed the most basic information and using the tablets gave them an opportunity to see how a device could be useful to them before they invested in one. I have been able to recruit another 8 learners for a course which starts on 10th September. The outcome is that many of our original learners are now sending emails and enjoying surfing the internet.
3. Shipley Area Co-ordinator's office and Ward Councillors had also received reports that the local bus service was unreliable. We offered local residents the opportunity to air their views at a special Neighbourhood Forum at St Hugh's on 18th July. The MD of Yorkshire Tiger and a representative of Yorkshire Combined Authority answered questions and heard users' views. A follow-up meeting is planned in the next few weeks to update residents on action taken to resolve their issues.
4. Unfortunately Bradford Met's Children's Centres lost the funding to offer an outreach toddler group at St Hugh's in April. We are looking at ways to safely offer this service but in the meantime I have worked with our Bookings Secretary, Pam Ruppe, to expand our weekly children's activities. It's becoming increasing difficult to fund such groups, due to Safeguarding compliance. We felt that bringing in outside organisations to offer children's services was the answer. We vet them for the correct insurances and checks but this has enabled us to add a twice-weekly dance group, Tae Kwando and a Peppa Pig themed exercise session to our offer.
5. To address the call for more local opportunities for older people to exercise, we now offer a weekly Tai Chi group.
Promoting Community Development
In August we circulated Hugh's News to 600 local homes. Our newsletter includes local news as well as information about services at St Hugh's.
Our What's On leaflet has been updated twice since April and is available in our entrance way and handed out to our existing groups.
In consultation with our craft group, members felt that the pieces they created were not valued outside the group. In order to showcase their efforts, we are holding a Quilt Exhibition and Craft De-stash sale on Saturday 22nd September. Money raised will be split between Yorkshire Aire Ambulance and Higher Coach Road Residents Youth project. This has been an opportunity to recruit many new volunteers. Many of the craft members, who have never previously volunteered at our events, stepped forward to take on small roles. One new volunteer has taken on a co-ordinator's role although she was reluctant to take any leadership in the beginning.
Last spring our central heating boiler broke down and repair was so costly that we needed to find funds to replace it. Added to this our lobby flat roof started leaking badly and damaged the ceiling inside. I have been working to find funding to pay for a replacement boiler and repairs to the roof as we will not be able to use the building in winter if this is not corrected. Our Community Development project is dependent on a building which is fit for purpose. I have obtained three quotations for each aspect of the work and applied to BIFFA for funding. Should we be unsuccessful, I have a contingency plan to keep the building open in the short term.