Barnfield Big Local

1. INTRODUCTION

The Barnfield Community, supported by Friends of Barnfield Resident Committee and local partners, has been transformed in recent years. How we work together as a community now is stronger than ever before. Having completed our Well London programme we have seen many benefits; the environment has been improved and the well-being of individuals in our community has increased. But there is so much more we have to achieve. Having been awarded £1 million Big Local funding over the next ten years, the community has an opportunity to continue to transform the neighbourhood following the success of the Well London programme. 

We have worked hard through the “Getting People Involved” phase of Big Local; this has seen us engage with more residents and local partners than ever, to get a good sense of what our area is like and how it could be even better (see attached leaflet “The Barnfield Community” to see the profile of our area). This plan follows on from that work and shows what we plan to do over the next 10 years to make our community an even better place to live. 

Like all project – this is just a starting point; we know from the work we have undertaken already that even the best plans may need changes and adaptation as we progress. So this is the starting point of our journey.

2. Barnfield SHARED VISION

Our vision is for a community that works as individuals and together to make Barnfield a place of which we can all be proud.

We developed our vision during an event we held with residents and other partners. In groups, we built sculptures to highlight how we saw our area now and what we’d like to see in ten years’ time

          The words used to describe the sculptures and the feelings they were trying to convey included:

  • We are on a pathway – lots of pathways!

  • New areas for play and recreation

  • We will always be on a journey

  • It won’t always be easy

  • More open spaces

  • Quick wins – flowers

  • Communication across the estate

  • A wishing tree – to maintain a sense that people’s needs will change – they will want new and different things

  • Community centre – a centrepiece on both sculptures – open sided on one to signify a space for all

    As we worked through the day to develop our vision further three themes kept coming up: 

  • Individuals – having a say, taking responsibility and developing on a personal level

  • Together – team work, agreeing overall objectives and having a common purpose

  • Pride – change the perspective of the external world, instil a sense of pride for everyone who lives here and change the image of the area 

  • Using these themes we developed the vision above as one on which we all agree and one we can all work towards. We’ve come a long way and this vision sets our sights clearly on the next 10 years.

3. Priorities

We have lots of ideas of what we hope to do to make our community an even better place to live. We have developed these into three main areas, or themes which we have called strategic priorities. Each of these is not in any particular order as we see the need to work across all three at the same time.

Strategic priority 1 - Developing our infrastructure:

This is about making sure we do things properly, work with others who can help us (and make sure we don’t “re-invent the wheel”) and provide ourselves with the right space and support.

Under this theme, our first priorities will be:

  • Managing the programme and funding well

  • Providing space(s) to meet residents, organise ourselves and deliver activities

  • Support volunteers

  • Develop effective partnerships 

    Strategic priority 2 - Developing a range of activities:

    We have always seen Big Local as ultimately being about providing activities that will make the area better and people happier. There is so much we could do but need to recognise the limits of our resources and time. Therefore we have had to prioritise the activities, in rough order as follows:

  • Health and well being

  • Environment

  • Children and young people

  • Elderly

  • Crime reduction and community safety

  • Work and training

  • Other community activities. 

    Strategic priority 3 - Developing our communications:

    This is about letting people know about our plans (both on the estate and with our partners and other stakeholders) and making sure we get continuous feedback about how we are doing and whether we need to change direction or improve. The key issue here is that communication should be two-way.

    Under this theme, our first priorities will be:

  • Communicate with others right across the estate

  • Communicate with key agencies, other stakeholders and decision makers external to the estate.

4. OVERALL ROLE AND APPROACH

We discussed the overarching approach to be taken, the values, of the partnership in working through our strategic priorities towards our vision, as follows:

  • The partnership must have support –the pressures on volunteers are huge and there is so much to do. We have decided that for the first two years we will use some of our money to provide us with a dedicated member of staff on a part time basis to help kick start the programme. We will then review what we need.

  • We will take an imaginative approach to how we will spend our money and we’re keen to look at the full range of mechanisms open to us (e.g. social investment – window cleaning idea, quick wins).

  • We will plan and organise ourselves properly. We know from our experience with Well London how important it is to plan and organise and to have proper processes in place.

  • We believe that something that involves such a large group of diverse people and organisations can only be effective where there is good, two-way communication and transparency in our dealings with everyone.

  • Our area is very diverse; there are people from a very wide range of ethnic communities, young people, older people, employed, unemployed. We know we have a challenge to involve all those who want to be involved and so a key part of our approach will be to be sensitive to this level of diversity and make sure that we balance our activities and communication to be as accessible as possible to as many people as possible.

  • We know we can’t do this by ourselves; partnership working with others outside of the estate will be a key part of our approach to ensure success.

  • We have lots of strengths built up over time; but we recognise the need for continued training and support to enable us to participate more fully.

  • £1 million sounds like a lot of money – but over ten years it will soon get used up. We know we have to use the Big Local money to help bring in other funding if we are to achieve everything we want to in the area.

5. PARTNERSHIP STRUCTURE

To operate Big Local in Barnfield we have created a main partnership body made up of local residents and other stakeholders. This partnership body has a number of task groups that are used to focus on specific pieces of work. These task groups may change over time.

6. OUTCOMES

Our action plan shows to things we hope to achieve but we also wanted to think about the larger outcomes for Big Local and the bigger things that will change as a result of our work. At the end of the ten years we would like to see: