Community money - invested by the community
21 June 2016

The Story So Far…

2010-2014 – Understanding the community’s needs

From the start this project has been about the people who live and work in our area. Residents and local organisations came together to become a steering group that sought to identify the community’s needs. An incredible amount of work, effort and passion went into creating our first three year plan – we consulted with residents, carried out research and engaged with local organisations, not to mention wrote draft after draft of the plan until we were all happy. However, there was no time to stop and admire what we had done as we launched straight in to year one of plan delivery. Read more on our first plan (2015 to 2018) here.

We decided to use the funds to help organisations deliver new, innovative projects that meet the needs our our community wit the aim to draw more money and support in to the area, turning the £1m into much much more.

2015 – Setting the foundations

It’s fair to say that time flew by. The steering group became a management committee that is still resident led. We’re proud that so much was accomplished behind the scenes; from developing our branding, website and social media presence to creating professional methods of practice and setting up the Big Fund process.

As we are a volunteer-led organisation we brought in help to assist us in getting started. Westfield Parish Council looked after our finances and Somer Valley FM led on our communications. Sarah Westell and Rob Wicke were (self)employed part-time to help deliver the plan.

2016 – Building on our strengths and prioritising projects

This was our second year of plan delivery, operating with a wealth of experience and a great core team. We developed strong partnerships with local residents, the councils and community organisations in order to deliver the following:

  • Develop a local food strategy
  • Develop a youth engagement and empowerment strategy
  • Continue with the Big Fund – Funding Events and Small Maintenance Works
  • Investigate options for social investment that brings returns
  • Get people involved in Big Local and give them the skills to keep Big Local going
  • Continue the Big Local Dragons’ Den event – so far 40 projects have been funded to benefit the community

2017 – Making good progress and planning for 2018:

In our third year we helped make positive changes:

  • We got the local food strategy ball rolling with a project in partnership with Radstock Town Council to create a community orchard – around thirty fruit trees have been planted. It will take a few years before they become good croppers, but we hope that the community will care for them and enjoy the welcoming space in the meantime. We’re now on the look out for more partner organisations that will help us spread the orchard across the community.
  • We worked with B&NES and Virgin Care to deliver Sugar Smart in our area, bringing in £2,000 for projects from the national campaign. We’re proud to say that our participation encouraged B&NES to make our area their flagship Sugar Smart community.
  • Because of the support from the community for health-based skills-development projects, as well as the opportunity to make a good, sustainable investment, we started to develop a plan for a community training kitchen where people can learn to cook tasty, healthy and affordable meals.
  • We supported the organiser of a local mini-market, which launched at Round-about Radstock, to grow the idea in 2018 to bring more local shops, entrepreneurs and community organisations together for local people’s benefit.
  • We have helped to set up and fund a regular youth panel with a devolved budget that young people can apply to. Youth Connect are generously providing support. This is something we’re really pleased about because it gives young people a voice and an opportunity to make decisions about how to make Radstock and Westfield an even better place to live.
  • Our 5th Dragons’ Den was a great success with over 100 local people present who voted for ten more community projects. It’s always a fun occasion and is becoming well know in the community (it even prompted a visit from our MP!), getting funds and support out to the projects than need and deserve it. Even the projects that don’t win are offered support to develop and improve their offer, this time two of them took us up on this and were subsequently able to secure some funding.
  • We have provided match-funding to Writhlington Hall who led a well supported campaign to reduce dangerous parking at school drop-off/pick-up. Our funds went towards a fully surfaced car-park that is used by parents/guardians, helping to keep cars off the busy road and junction.
  • We contributed to the refurbishment of the Radstock Museum Clock Tower, which is now on time and chimes during sociable hours.
  • We supported Radstock Town Council by consulting with local people to find out what outdoor exercise equipment they wanted in Springfield Park.
  • We have refreshed our knowledge of the area and resident’s needs, taking into account changes in the area such as population, Hope House moving and other aspects.
  • The second plan was completed on the basis of the community needs and is set to start in 2019.
  • We welcomed new faces on to the management committee including Rhea Morgan and Jo Hurst. The management is mainly local residents who care about how the money is used. They offer around 3 or more hours of their time a month to ensure our plan runs smoothly, projects are funded and that we are connecting with the community. If you’re interested in supporting the Big Local please have a look at the different things you can do.

2018 – Hard work, rewarded with a new plan, a CIC and a bigger, better partnership:

In 2018 there was plenty of hard graft behind the scenes as we set up a Community Interest Company to protect our assets, provide employment to our workers, insure ourselves and bring in more money and resources.

We also wrote our next plan, Plan 2! (late 2018 to late 2021)

It was endorsed by our funders (Local Trust) in late 2018, with a proviso that we can only access the community training kitchen funds should our business plan demonstrate need and value.

The beginning of the new plan is great because we can build community energy and support around it and increase our partnership numbers in the process. The Meet and Mingle in late November 2018 was our first celebration of this pivotal moment and was a chance to welcome interested people from the community, explain where we’re going and invite them to join us.

We are excited to say a number of local people joined the Partnership at (and just before) the Meet and Mingle event and we now have over 20 members who will help to guide and support the Plan!

Our Plan 2 will focus on the following priorities:

Invest in health & well-being to improve quality of life

Poor health is an area of concern in our community especially obesity, diabetes and mental health, we believe by supporting projects that promote and enable healthy lifestyles we can make a positive impact.

We aim to provide funding towards a community kitchen and training space – we are working on developing a business plan to ensure the space is used and supported by the local community.

The impact this should have is a generational reduction in obesity and other health related issues and an increase in community engagement.

Invest in young people to become life, work & further education ready

This priority has developed from consultations, local statistics and following on from Plan 1.

Residents have identified the need to invest in our young people, we aim to focus on empowering them with a devolved budget and creating learning opportunities. Led by the recent youth consultation (Dec 2017) we are using the results and recommendations to inform the decisions we make regarding investing in youth provision.

We expect to allocate £23k per year for the next three years with specified, measurable goals written into the terms and conditions for the funding to be allocated.

The goals will include a successful anti-bulling strategy, an increase in what services are currently available and a re-evaluation of the young peoples needs and wants and the impact/improvement the funding has made. We will continue funding the devolved budget of £5k per year working closely with the youth panel, ensuring our young people have their say on how and where money should be spent. We will identify fundraising opportunities to ensure the project remains sustainable into the future of youth provision.

Invest in upskilling support for people, organisations and facilities to increase resilience

This Priority originates from Plan 1. Over the duration of the last plan it became apparent that community organisations face numerous challenges in order to continue and meet the changing needs of our communities.

We felt that some of the resources needed to be used in a way that provided organisations with the skills to raise funds, develop business plans, identify and adapt to the opportunities and needs within the community.

We are keen to develop long term resilience by making funds available annually to provide professional support (workshops/events) to grow these skills and plan for the future.

Our Dragons’ Den events have been incredibly successful in bringing together the community to celebrate the creativity and motivation of our community to make good things happen here. We want this to continue for as long as it’s useful and so will work towards making our Dragons’ Den event sustainable – finding funding partners and volunteers to help run and promote it.

We will also identify and provide funding towards training in preparing and cooking healthy food on a budget. We will aim towards making the project self-funding and an integrated part of the health and wellbeing hub that is developing in Radstock and Westfield.

Invest and raise funds to enhance the Radstock & Westfield CIC offer to the community

The £1million from Local Trust is not enough to fully address the needs/problems we have decided to focus on and this priority shows our commitment to deliver the plan, develop sustainability to continue beyond the 10-year lottery project, build on our capacity and embrace long-term partnerships.

The delivery of the plan will be carried out by the community workers and volunteers in accordance with Local Trust aims as well as Companies House regulations.

We will create a strategy to lever in outside funding using our understanding of the needs of our community. We will utilise match funding and complete funding applications in order to ensure good things continue to happen in our area beyond the Local Trust investment.

Projects supported so far: (click on the project to read report where possible)

Disabled Toilet Prattens Social Club
Hang It St Nicholas Primary School
Battle of the Bands Danny Brothers
Song sheets Westfield Ladies Choirs
Tents Radstock Scouts Group
Building Work Radstock Town AFC
Easter Playscheme Community Bus
Communications System Radstock Junior Gateway
Stile gate St Nicholas Church
Website development Play 8-80
Flooring for entrance hall Prattens Social Club
Fun Club Summer Trips SWALLOW
Befriending service for older people Ev Robinson
Residential stay for Radstock Junior Club Radstock Junior Club
Holiday Play schemes The Community Bus
Charitable status for Westfield Sports & Community Centre Westfield Sports and Community Centre
Voluntary Car Service Funding Midsomer Norton & Radstock Dial a Ride
Lanes, Boats & Trains Radstock Museum
Youthworker Radikal – St Nicholas Church
Bespoke radio, media, press training to 4 local organisations Somer Valley FM
Radio production training for local volunteers Somer Valley FM
Employment focused training Somer Valley FM
Free / reduced access to training from Confessions of the Youth Theatre Confessions of the Youth Theatre
A Good Time in Radstock – seed funding Radstock Museum
Paint Your Tearoom Radstock Museum
NCT Baby Cinema Jennifer Hird
Coppafeel – Breast Cancer Awareness Event Helen Adams
Equipping the Victoria Hall – Lighting Sue Hill School of Dance
Rock Guitar School Free Taster Lessons Anthony Seaman
WAGS gardening for children Westfield Allotments and Gardening Society
Bleacher Seating in Victoria Hall Big Local Asset
Acis & Galatea opera Musicians SW CIC
Roundabout Radstock DNA arts
Heritage walks around the area Somer Valley Walking Festival
Community Cafe Jam and Chutney Co SWALLOW
Inspiring Active Children Jim Plunkett Cole
Confessions of the Youth Theatre – skills Confessions of the Youth Theatre Co
Acoustic Sessions Danny Brothers
Gardening for children WAGS – Westfield Allotments and Gardening Society
Family Fun Days NCT
Family Screenings Radstock Cinema
Provision of Storage Area St Nic’s Church
Pumpkin Project DNA arts
Victoria Xmas Open Day Radstock Museum
Urgent Child Safety Solution Writhlington Village Hall
Positive wellbeing The Potting Shed
Providing cheap to free community transport SWAN Community Transport
Young Actors Group – Acting Experiences Confessions of the Youth Theatre Co
1930’s style remodel of tea rooms Radstock Museum
Trinity does DIY SOS Trinity Primary School PTA
Lower Writhlington Colliery Batch fossil source – Fossil hunt Radstock Museum
Confidence boosting activities Radstock Juniors Club
Cafe Chiller SWALLOW
Equipment for skills learning – boxing gloves & skipping ropes Norton Radstock Amateur Boxing Club
Materials for Roundabout Radstock DNA arts
Resources towards the walking festival Somer Valley Walking Festival
A Good Time in Radstock – Improving the clock tower Radstock Museum
Christmas Tree Topper Westfield Parish Council
Community Orchard Radstock Town Council
Silver Ball Celebrations SWALLOW
Flooring so that the club can provide safe skills learning Norton Radstock Amateur Boxing Club
Improving disabled access around the allotments WAGS
Rebrand to promote inclusivity Westfield Ladies Choir
Drama performance – Project Greace Exit Stage Left
Drama performance – original production Confessions of the Youth Theatre Co
Free to reduced fee access to drama Confessions of the Youth Theatre Co
Allotment Fund Trinity Primary School
Outdoor learning space Trinity Primary School
Plastic fish – educational project about plastic waste and our waterways Christopher Lewis-Smith
New safety equipment Norton Radstock Amateur Boxing Club
Members residential Radstock Juniors
Running For Belief John Reynolds
Sustainability Exit Stage Left
Training cafe equipment SWALLOW charity
Sanitary resources in schools The Red Box Project
New allotments in Larch Court WAGS
Wildflowers and safety measures at Snails Brook Catherine Whybrow
Training for the real world Fosseway School
New lighting Prattens Sports & Social Club
Access ramp Trinity Methodist Church