One of the best things I do in my job at the moment is work with residents in Coseley who are leading the Big Local programme, along with my colleagues Neil and Donna. We’ve recently been testing out new ways to support people with ideas who want to start activities. We have worked hard with residents to develop a process which embraces the underpinning ethos of East Coseley Big Local: to start with what is already available around us.
Doris and Vusa live in Coseley and want to start a weekly out-of-school education, recreation and mentoring programme for 8 – 14 year olds. They agreed to help test our new process. A month ago they joined Dudley CVS staff and four residents from the East Coseley Big Local Core Group. We started off by sharing some examples of inspiring projects from other places around the world. Doris was interested in Singledingen, a project started by neighbours in a park in Rotterdam, and Hackney Pirates, an amazing out-of-school learning adventure started by a teacher and local people.
Then we introduced our Ideas Canvas, which prompted conversation about what Doris, Vusa and other members of their team bring in terms of passion, skills, experience and knowledge. Together we identified who they might like to meet to help them get started. Something we asked which was a bit of a surprise to Doris and Vusa was: ‘What could the children bring and contribute to the programme?’ They hadn’t thought about this before, but readily considered ways that children could share their talents with each other, and be supported to take on leadership roles.
Another surprise was that we were able to help Doris and Vusa to cut their costs for 2 taster sessions by about two-thirds, by re-thinking some activities with them, and by sourcing materials and equipment that could be borrowed from local groups. This was possible due to members of local groups being involved in the Big Local Core Group, added to by the local knowledge of Dudley CVS officer Neil Langford. An unexpected outcome of bringing people together in the way we did was that after also hearing about a children’s holiday club which was planned at Darkhouse Baptist Church, Doris volunteered to help out with it. And in turn she had offers of help for her taster weekend.
Made 4 Kidz, founded by Doris and Vusa, now has a lovely bright website, a Facebook Page and two taster sessions running this weekend at the Rainbow Community Centre. Leaflets have been delivered to households in the area. Please do help spread the word.
Also do let us know what you think about connecting people and resources in neighbourhoods, and any experiences you have of doing it.