What’s happened this month?
Shiny new projects
At the last ‘Turning ideas into action’ event we funded ten projects and are supporting another sixteen to develop their ideas across the town. After Christmas the Neighbourhood Pioneers from the event have been in to see us to complete their action plan and funding agreement, we have been focusing on their assets and how other people can support their ideas to develop with as little money as possible. This is proving to be successful.
Stand out in Darwen – Together Days
400 B-Tec work skills students in year 9 & 10 at Darwen Academy are completing a unit on volunteering, as part of their course we have decided to bring it to life by giving them some hands on volunteering through ‘Stand out in Darwen’ over a two day period at the end of March.
Students will apply to our neighbourhood pioneer projects across the town to support each project for the two days to gain volunteering experience and gather evidence for their accredited unit.
We have been delivering workshops in the student’s lessons and assemblies leading up to the Stand out in Darwen – Together days to inform students about what is a ‘Volunteer’ and what is expected of them as volunteers over the two day period.
Some of the students have been inspired to become a volunteer more long term and have been enquiring about volunteer placements on a local farm and nursery.
We hope to run this event annually to raise awareness of volunteering and the ‘Stand out in Darwen’ campaign.
Spreading the love
We have been delivering ABCD workshops this month to ‘Think family’ partners, ‘extended shared neighbourhood teams’ and ‘NHS Healthy streets’, this has been great as we are now known to be experts in this field and we have a model that works. It has been great for us to reach out to other services across Lancashire to share our learning and hopefully inspire others to work in an asset based approach.
Skate park using only assets
One of the pioneer projects that came forward to build a skate park in Darwen has now successfully moved a donated skate park from one of neighbouring towns. The young people have built links within the community and have moved the skate park using the assets within the town. The fire brigade and a local haulage company offered their help to work with community members to make the lads dream come true.
At our last partnership meeting we discussed sustainability of the pilot after April and looked at how we might implement the ‘Stand out’ approach within the partnership. We decided that we would have two separate panels. One called the ‘Pegasus Fund panel’ that would focus on the fund and donations into the fund. The Pegasus fund panel would not decide where funds would go but be the face of the fund. We decided that this panel would need to be elected members and would be made up of donors and purse string holders within the council or town council.
The second panel would be the delivery panel of ‘Stand out in Darwen’. This would be made up of active members who would deliver certain elements of the programme. The ‘Stand out in Darwen panel would be made up of partners including CVS, BWD, NHS, DVHS, Time bank, Community Champions and ourselves.
I am now currently writing TOR for each panel making sure people’s roles are clear.
‘Stand out UK’
We feel that what we have achieved this year has been great for this community and we feel that this can be replicated in other towns, so we have decided to produce a tool kit from our learning to share with other schools, academies, community groups and councils across the UK.
When we have been speaking with people from other organisations they have been asking us about the people we are working with and they want to know more about the projects. We have decided to write about ten stories with some of our projects focusing on how them becoming more engaged in their community has affected their life and others around them. We hope these stories will inspire others to get involved and become active members in their community.
We are currently drafting up a new website that will be for the community to use to share their assets. The website will be for the community to log onto and share their time and resources across the town. Watch this space for new developments!!
What have you learnt this month?
We have learnt that communities move at a very slow pace, to change people’s usual ways of working with a community is very difficult. When people are elected into a role they feel it’s their job to decide what is best for their community rather than letting the people from the community decide. We are hoping to deliver more and more workshops across the town to show how to empower individuals rather than make decisions for them.
What has been challenging this month?
We have been preaching this new way of working now for months and we are meeting lots of people from different services and organisations and they are all blown away with the success of the project and leave the meetings totally inspired. BUT – nothing happens after these meetings…
No-one seems to be able to say “right let’s do this!”
We need to aim high and meet the ‘Big Wigs’ – easier said than done.
What are you proud of this month?
Now we can see the pilot phase finish line we are starting to see what we have accomplished over the past year. We feel proud of the community champions / neighbourhood pioneers passion to succeed in their ideas for the town and the amount of time and effort everyone has given to make this pilot come to life.