It’s been 6 to 8 months since I last wrote a blog post update for the project here in Forest Green and due to the current circumstances (at the time of writing this) and working from home I thought it would be a good opportunity to provide some updates…
Quite a lot has happened since the last update, and not just with the project but with me as a Community Organiser as I’ve completed the level 3 community organising qualification, become a director here at Community Roots CIC and successful put in a funding application to help the project continue – more on that shortly!
In terms of the project…
We’re at a stage now where we’re coming to the end of the 2-year original project with starting to form a holding group who meet every month. There have been 4 meetings and some great conversations.
I should point out that any resident in Forest Green can come along and have their voice heard, connect with new local people and together make a difference at these meetings. Find out more by keeping up to date with the Friends of Forest Green Facebook page here. (p.s the next Friends of Forest Green meeting is likely to be a Skype call with the current circumstances and I will be helping anyone who needs help with the technology)
At the first meeting which was held towards the end of 2019, we focused on sharing and giving feedback from the findings and conversation we had over the 2 summers. During this time, we knocked on over 450 doors and spoke to over 180 residents and local people asking them what they love about the area, what concerns they have and if they have any ideas for projects or activities.
We presented the findings in a PowerPoint presentation which is available here.
The other BIG thing that has happened over the last few months is the start of a football community kick-a-bout group that takes place at Nailsworth Primary School MUGA (multi-use-game-area) every Sunday at 10:30 to 11:30 am.
This group is run by local resident Joe who I have been helping to support in the development of his idea. Joe is also getting his FA Level 1 qualification and has already got his FA Emergency Aid and completed a DBS check as a by-product of wanting to set up a football kick-a-bout group for the community.
As the weeks have progressed, Joe has seen an increase in interest and local people coming along. If you’re interested in coming along to have a kick-a-bout get in touch with Joe here.
Alongside supporting Joe, the Friends of Forest Green group and continuing to attend community meetings a lot of my time has gone into looking at funding to continue the project and we have been successful in an Awards for All funding bid by the National Lottery.
Writing my first funding application was interesting, fun and a learning curve. There were a lot of drafts and back and fourths with the team here at Community Roots.
The project will be continuing for AT LEAST another year which is exciting as we look to build on the work done so far and ways on how we can make it sustainable with the Friends of Forest Green group for years to come!
Some of my time has also gone into supporting the ‘Save our MUGA’ campaign which is a campaign to save the multi-use-game-area around Lawnside. There is an article which can be found here that has more information about the situation with the MUGA. It would be a shame to lose such a popular facility and could increase anti-social behaviour in the area.
Over the coming months, we will be continuing to work with the Friends of Forest Green group to tackle there concerns and build on what they love about the area. We are excited to see the ideas that come out of future meetings.
As mentioned, at the time of writing this, with the current circumstances we’re aware that we will be having to change some of the focuses to help the most vulnerable in the community and as already seen across the country in times of need the majority of people pull together.
If you have any questions about the Friends of Forest Green project or about Community Organising, please feel free to get in touch with us here!
Until next time,
Luke Burrows – Community Organiser