Big Warsop plan review, January 2016
Big Warsop’s current plan includes agreed activities to be delivered between April 2015 and March 2016. With March 2016 just a matter of weeks away, the Partnership Group has been busy putting the finishing touches to its plan review and agreeing a budget and activities for the next phase of the plan.
What we have done
Big Warsop has made good progress across all themes in the 2014-16 plan. At a review earlier this month, the Partnership Group considered each area of activity against a traffic light system to gauge action and impact. Here’s what Big Warsop has done to achieve the outcomes for each theme:
Strengthening the community
- Run the community chest in partnership with Rotary and supported a range of local groups through small grants. We are reviewing the partnership with Rotary as it is no longer able to contribute 50% of the grants pot. (green)
- Used the good ideas pot to fund defibrillators across the parish, run CAB sessions and we are about to complete on funding a community mini bus. (green)
- Funded the Carnival which continues to attract huge crowds, support many local groups and raise the profile and popularity of the town. (green)
- Supported work with children and young people through Mansfield District Leisure Trust, through Meden School, the Warsop Children’s Centre and also through support to Warsop Youth Club (WYC). But our ambitions are greater than occasional bits of work and we look to the next plan to build on this and see more ambitious achievements through supporting WYC and the Enthusiasm Trust. (amber)
- Supported older residents through Meden Sports Free Running Taster sessions and through activities co-ordinated by Jigsaw. This is a good start, but as with children and young people, our ambitions in the next plan are for a more integrated approach, building on the partnership with Jigsaw. (amber)
Encouraging social training and enterprise
- Made great progress with the community hub, both in the construction and the capacity building. (green)
- Supported a range of education and training initiatives which has been well received and beneficial to local residents, the security training through SIA being a front runner. There are more opportunities available if there was the capacity and infrastructure to respond. (green)
- We’ve been delayed in getting the trowel trades partnership off the ground but are confident we are likely to see the beginnings of this activity in the Parish before the end of April 2016. (red)
- We stalled on our attempts to find a partner interested and able to pick up on the horticulture aspirations and intended outcomes. We have a potential link that could come good with the Sherwood Forest Trust. (red)
To support running Big Warsop, we have:
- Found a new avenue for developing effective communications and made great strides in telling the stories of action and change and increasing contacts through social media. (moved from red in the summer to green in the autumn)
- Planned to boost partner and community engagement through an event in February. This supplements other means of sharing activity and hearing of success, for example through the Warsop Carnival.
How much have we spent?
In the first plan that ran for 18 months we spent £84,680. During this second plan and taking into account spend on the community hub, we have spent £110,055. With the community mini bus project we are likely to have spent more than £150,000 by the end of this plan.
What impact has Big Local had?
The most significant impact on the community has been through supporting the Warsop Carnival and through installing the defibrillators (because of the good will factor and interest and support this has generated). The biggest impact for local groups and organisations has been through ROLO – the Community Chest. The biggest impact for individuals has been through the adult training, the CAB advice sessions through the direct work with children and young people and older residents. The biggest legacy impact is through the investment in the community hub.
This is what our Chair has to say about the impact Big Warsop has made so far:
“Much of what we’ve done reaches pockets of people. For some, the impact of Big Warsop has been their ability to develop new skills and bolster confidence and open doors to new opportunities. For others, such as younger people and older residents, activities have given them social interaction and an outlet they would otherwise not have had.
“More widely across the Parish, Big Warsop is an ally of the Carnival and a keen supporter because we recognise the event as vital for the survival of many community groups. The funds they are able to raise on the day often virtually meet their annual running costs. It is also the only event that runs in the Parish that brings people together in one celebration. To a smaller extent, we saw how installing the defibrillators had a significant impact on residents because people saw someone was interested in putting power in their hands to help decide where they should be placed and they saw somebody taking an interest in their community.
“We are also seeing the impact of the investment in the community hub. This has taken a long time and a lot of effort by leading residents and Warsop Youth Club. Developing the hub has energised local people and partners and it has now put a resource in place that will help local groups to prosper and has provided a foundation of helping others to help themselves.”
What have we learned?
We’ve learnt that a small resident-led group can achieve great things, both through small scale and immediate support to local groups and residents (ROLO, training) and at the same time investing in a large scale long term partnership project. We have learnt about the impact a few local people can have.
We find ourselves repeatedly saying “we could have done more” but we recognise and need to work within the limited resource we have of people to develop and lead projects and of money (as £1m is significant but not huge over 10 years). We have been successful in managing these limitations in part by focusing on areas of spend with immediate benefit and ensuring there are also longer term investments.
We recognise the tension between constant consultation and getting nothing done at one end, and at the other charging ahead without enough consultation. We look to listen, take stock and then develop and implement a plan that responds to local issues and to give feedback to residents on what has been achieved.
We do great things but we have not been good enough at shouting loud enough about what we have achieved. We realised this and put a stronger communications lead and strategy in place and we are already seeing the benefits of this.
One of our strengths on the partnership is taking an initial idea that seems to lack potential (such as one defibrillator in a pub, or funding the school to have its own minibus) and getting stuck in to build relationships and understanding that transform the idea into something that really takes off for the benefit of residents across the Parish.
The partnership undertakes reviews of its work and activity and has produced two annual reports in 2014 and 2015. The Big Local Rep writes a quarterly blog posted to the website, reflecting on progress and learning.
Our vision and priorities
We reviewed our vision and priorities in January and February 2015 as we built towards the new one year plan of April 2015, and we’ve reviewed them again early in 2016 as we review and build the third plan. The comments below are from resident partnership members in a recent review.
The partnership believes there is a worsening wider environment that directly affects the people of the Parish, a sense of aspiration and reduction in the day-to-day presence of people in Warsop.
Things are tough and likely to get tougher for traders, businesses and residents. There is already a visible effect in areas such as the main street. This underlines the importance of the Big Warsop vision and the need to invest in people and projects in the Parish with skills and time to give. The projected development of the Community Hub and the revitalised Community Interest Company, Vibrant Warsop, are important alliances securing people and agencies to work together to make change happen.
The partnership feels our vision still holds true to the overall purpose of Big Warsop. It expresses the high level of what we wanted to achieve which led to us agreeing specific themes, including trying to keep the money in Warsop.
The partnership believes there are two main challenges in making our vision a reality. First, while it is the right vision and Big Warsop has the funds, we and partners have not always had the capacity to deliver. In this our second plan, we seek to align intended outcomes with partner organisations which will deliver directly.
It remains essential that our investments are in delivering projects or meeting needs that statutory organisations are NOT obligated to provide. We will however continue to seek to hold these statutory bodies to account, building channels of communication and managing relationships.
We remain strongly committed to realising our vision through investment in the activities we fund and by harnessing:
- Local peoples’ involvement, energy and ideas.
- Voluntary and paid-for resources and skills.
- Engagement, trade and collaboration with existing community groups.
- The collective priorities for the Warsop Parish residents.
- Holding existing statutory bodies to account for the Warsop parish.
How do we keep up-to-date with what the community wants?
The initial community consultation and community profile are refreshed through continuing conversation, feedback from delivery partners and residents taking part in activities. These reports show the confidence and skills gained and are written up in reports and news stories which are shared on the website, through social media and through local news outlets.
Big Warsop has focused strongly on residents gaining confidence for now and the future. The adult education training courses have been one of the most successful elements of the plan, with good take-up on a range of courses. Most recently the SIA security training had a direct link to a qualification and job opportunities. The development and opening of the community hub has built local skills and confidence during the process and we are seeing local groups already booking the space for youth work, volunteer capacity building and leisure activities. It is exciting to see this three year-long ambition bearing fruit.
The model that Big Warsop adopted from the start was to be an enabler and facilitator of community action and not an organisation in its own right driving delivery itself. This has held good throughout the two delivery plans over the last 2 ½ years. This means that activity is driven by local residents and volunteers and the local community drives the change it is seeking to see, for example through the Carnival or the community chest. Similarly our limitations or shortfall in ambition is usually where we cannot harness local concern to local action, for example with horticulture.
Our only integrity is through residents telling us that what we have invested in has helped to make Warsop parish an even better place to live. We have strong evidence of this through big events such as the Carnival, comments from local people on projects such as the defibrillators and feedback from specific activity and courses.
Our partnership meetings are open to the public and our annual general meetings gain good attendance. Our reports are posted on line and information about what we do and how to contact is widespread across the Parish and on social media. We gain feedback on specific activity large and small and use this to review the community profile and needs. Occasionally, as we will be doing this February, we run a large partners’ event to bring people together to share and celebrate what is happening and reflect on what needs to happen next. This in turn feeds into our next plan which will be available for community comment and influence.
If you would like to know more about Big Warsop or you are interested in getting involved as a resident, email firstname.lastname@example.org.