Links and Mapping at a busy meeting

We had another lively residents led partnership meeting last night. Unfortunately though our chair, Ron Bennett is ill, get well soon Ron!

However Gary, one of our vice-chair people did a fantastic job of chairing the meeting, he even managed to finish on the dot of eight, which was a sterling job given how much we had to say and talk about. It was a partly reflective meeting, with the board looking at how splitting up in to separate ‘interest’ area groups had worked. Each of these groups are very small with around 3 or 4 members but in their first meetings had been really productive.

Much as our bigger formal meetings work well – it can be that not everyone is as confident at speaking up, and of course the agenda is quite large so we don’t get time to go in to the detailed stuff. And sometimes that is just what we need to do. There are lots of plans afoot for the summer; from supporting young people to attend events, to children’s activities and possibly a Big Summer Fun Day. More on these as plans are confirmed.

It was also interesting to think about how other big local area’s are working – one of our members went to a national Big Local conference ‘The Spring Event’ – link here http://localtrust.org.uk/news/blogs/spring-event-presentations-and-resources and came away thinking about how we could be planning ambitious projects here in North East Hastings. Of course we do have a couple of grand plans, we’re supporting partners with working on- The Ore Village Green and Greenway, and the hopeful redevelopment of Sandown Swimming Pool. We reminded ourselves that we have ten years of work to go so time is on our side for big plans.

I did a presention on a North East Hastings Community Assets Map. The idea behind asset mapping is to look for the good in the community and present it visually. It is a really simple way to think about your area, but provides really useful information. Assets really can be anything from local volunteers, star people, great venue’s, lovely spaces’ and so on. I chose to focus on our community settings as a start and worked up a map which was developed by a colleague Nick Harper with indesign and powerpoint. I’m very happy to share this with people – sadly the file is too big to put up on the blog at the moment, but email us if you’d like to see it. The next steps for this are to work with small groups on ‘their asset maps’.

The idea of asset mapping as a tool for planning comes from work in developing countries, and is a fantastic way for residents and community members to develop a map of ‘their neighbourhood’. It can also be a way to talk about the area, to get the stories about people’s past, and the past of the area. It can also have different ‘layers;, almost like a transparent top. Do check out the University of Brighton’s community21 page via the link here - http://community21.org/, to see how this might be done. We’ll be working with them to do more mapping in the community.

Finally we welcomed Hastings Academy and Sussex Coast College as co-opted members of our group, and are looking forward to working with them on opening up their ‘assets’ – great sports facilities, computer facilities, libraries etc. to local people when possible.

Bev Jenkins, 8 May 2015, Blog post 7

Comments

Hi Bev.  Thanks for the good wishes.  I like your blogs.  They are informative and show how far the Big Local resident-led partnership has come since it was formed in December 2013. 

I just wanted to pick-up on the point about ambitious projects.  We have more than you might think.  The greenway, the village green and Sandown School’s swimming pool are not the only ones in our action plan that are underway. 

Our long term aim is to unlock the great potential our area has in its people, community facilities, employment opportunities and land.  To this end we have already started on two large and ambitious projects: supporting the community centres and increasing the opportunities for learning.

Our support for the four community centres in our area will have long-term benefits for the centres and for all the groups and people who use them.  £90,000 over three years from Big Local North East Hastings and another £90,000 over the same period from the Sussex Community Foundation will help put the community centres on a strong footing for the future and enable them to expand their services in the way that they and residents want.

These days the pace of change is such that we all have to learn new things: sometimes it can be for fun, learning to make bread or using social media for instance; and sometimes it is because we need to improve our basic skills or get a qualification to help get a paid or voluntary job.  So we are investing in excess of £60,000 over three years in learning and skills so that residents have access to more courses, activities and information, advice and guidance.  And that is just the start. 

We are bringing learning providers together so that the resources available from a variety of sources are used to the maximum benefit of residents.  And we are trying to make it easier for residents to find out what learning opportunities are on offer. 

We want good quality learning opportunities to be available for everyone and centred on the needs of residents.  We want learning to be fun.  And we want it to be accessible in our community centres, church halls as well as the more formal settings in the college and schools. 

Over the coming months and years the hard work of our special interest/programme groups will result in more exciting projects that will bring residents together, enable them to do things they haven’t been able to do before, and give them the opportunity to play their part in making our area a good place to live, work and visit well beyond the 10-years of Big Local.

Ron Bennett

Chair, Resident-led Partnership, Big Local North East Hastings

By RonBennett