April – June 2021
As your Big Local Rep, every three months or so, 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.
As summer is upon us, I guess some things are feeling a lot better than they have been, with better weather and greater freedom of movement. But I wonder also whether the cumulative effect of these last 15 months is also taking its toll. Many in our communities continue to have a very tough time economically, through isolation, illness and loss. But it inspires me to witness the community resilience and the fires of local commitment and energy for change being stoked up once more. Big Warsop has continued to work for the greater good of the area throughout and is keen to respond as best it can in these coming months to the specific needs emerging and to the opportunities opening up.
The national Big Local programme is especially pleased that, at this point, it does look like this year’s Big Local Connects will be going ahead in October in Nottingham. Local Trust continues to offer its support to the 150 Big Local areas across England. Three places per partnership are available and have been booked by the Big Warsop partnership.
There was a high level of activity in the early part of the year with Big Warsop, Vibrant Warsop CIC and Mansfield CVS as the Local Trusted Organisation, securing approval and funding from Local Trust for Vibrant to purchase the Methodist Chapel. These last three months have involved Vibrant as the purchaser most particularly, in getting the Terms of Agreement right with the vendor to ensure the best terms of transfer for the benefit of the communities of Warsop Parish under Vibrant’s stewardship.
In order for the sale to go through and Vibrant’s business plan to be developed, Big Warsop sought and got a three months extension on the existing plan. The new one will need to be in place by the end of September. The partnership is well underway with its review of the current plan, using Survey Monkey questionnaires with partnership and partner members to gather information about Big Warsop’s accomplishments this last year and its potential focus looking ahead.
While this work has been going on, the Big Warsop partnership has been meeting on line every fortnight to manage its investments and review the activity it supports. Partner agreements, reports on activities, minutes of meetings and stories of action and change are posted on the website. Monthly financial updates are provided by the Local Trusted Organisation, Mansfield CVS.
Strengthening Communities remains the key strand to Big Warsop’s vision and priorities. The partnership reflected in April that:
“Had Vibrant Warsop not been working in the community, the work the group has been able to deliver during the Covid Pandemic would not have happened as efficiently and effectively as it did. The success of the community support was due to the network of organisations that Vibrant was able to pull together and this would not have happened without the Big Warsop funding.” By May CAR Warsop had delivered about 1000 hampers, feeding 2591 people and providing 53,984 meals. Mansfield CVS has not provided as many emergency hampers now that the food club was in place and the role of a Food Co Ordinator introduced. CVS’s focus has been on the Community Champions Program, which Vibrant Warsop is also a part of. This entails Covid messaging, health and wellbeing, vaccines, testing and staying safe messaging.
Other activities have continued, including support to the Youth Club in developing a strategic plan, Ecologic and work on the Warsop Old Hall project. Proposals have been submitted and approved, including Swallows Green Pathway and Hetts Lane Holiday Club.
The AGM is taking place in early July, brought forward from September to tie into developing the next plan. At least two new people are known to want to join formally the partnership. Shortly after that, the partnership will complete and submit its plan review and build the new plan which may be the final one. The completion of purchase of the Methodist Chapel is key to being able to plan the next phase, working to balance with remaining funds support to existing projects and invigorating the first phase of the new community facility.
More widely the Strategic Leisure Consultation report used by Mansfield District Council has helped gain £3 million potentially from the Towns Fund towards a community hub. MDC has been working in partnership with Active Notts, Warsop Parish Council, and Vibrant Warsop to seek required match funding.