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This is our application video to be part of the People’s Projects competition. We are grateful to the Big Lottery Awards for All who gave us a £10,000 grant back in January 2017. It gave us a flying start to Project Welcome. Project Welcome is the name we have given to everything we do which enables us to bring about community transformation in our area.We did two things: a community survey and an English as second language class.
Thank you to YOU if you took part in ourCommunity Survey Community Survey. Or we may have met you on the doorstep as we did some face-to-face interviews in streets. Thanks also to the local councillors and volunteers who helped with this. We also held focus groups in our local primary school and with our ESOL group.
These two initiatives the survey and the class gave us great pieces of information: such as the fact that there are 12,000 people in our area and no community centre. We had 170 responses to our survey, we learned that our community are looking for groups for parents and younger children clubs for older people, exercise classes. What’s more over a third of those people who replied said they would be willing to volunteer time and some of them also offered other skills, many of them already are volunteering.
So we have created a good buzz in our area. We’ve done this by annual community fundays, local leaders breakfast’s and these initiatives have already given rise to ideas like this Community vegetable garden and the monthly group which supports it. Current seed ideas are: for a wildlife garden on a patch of public ground alongside our primary school, someone else wants to create a community newsletter.
We would love to develop all of this and make our community a better place. Our guiding ethos is that we want to help people in this area live well- that might mean living well emotionally or mentally, it might mean living well physically by providing exercise classes or letting people learn about healthy eating through our kitchen and community lunches it might mean living well socially by having a sense of connection to their neighbour a sense of ownership in their community.
In our church hall we already have a weekly children’s dance group, two toddler groups and knit and natter group a community lunch uniformed groups a samba band specialist hobby groups. We run the ESOL class which is now developing into an offshoot in our local primary school and we run courses that teach mental well-being.
But we would love to do more: what about a book group? A local history group? A job club? A hub for the community newsletter?
One of our key limits is our space and our entrance.
When I first moved here four years ago so many people told me that they thought this building was a redundant building because of our bricked up front door! For people to find their way into this building they have to follow along path all the way round to a side door.
We would love to open up this entrance and inside a new porch have a flight of stairs going up to an upper room which can easily be transformed into a second community room. As you’ve seen we already have a reasonable community room with a great kitchen and toilets.
We have already created so many links in our community. Project Welcome has caught the imagination of local people, local councillors, local business people, allotment associations, schools. We are right at the heart of our community: 12,000 people and no community centre, we want to be an asset to everyone in this area so that everyone can live well together.
BIG thank you to Emily Old for helping us make the video
Rev Sheila Bridge
Minister of St Peter and St John's Church, Rugby