Working together to build a brighter community —
Spotlight on the Staple Hill Regeneration Partnership
What is the Staple Hill Regeneration Partnership?
Basically we are a group of local volunteers. We are working to maintain and develop Staple Hill as a vibrant and viable community. The Regeneration Partnership is the main group that agencies refer to when they consult about neighbourhood services and we also raise funds and secure grants to invest in community projects.
Why is it needed?
Staple Hill is a diverse community which includes some areas of deprivation. Compared with much of South Gloucestershire, our residents have typically suffered from poorer health and lower educational attainment. Our unemployment rates are slightly higher than the national average and we have relatively high density housing with few open spaces. On the positive side we have a great sense of community with plenty of local residents who are keen to get involved and volunteer their time for the good of our neighbourhood.
What does the partnership do?
In partnership with South Gloucestershire Council, we are focusing to develop four main areas: health, crime, employment and education. We have established groups to work with public agencies to improve each of these issues. Each group is working on a three-year action plan based on priorities identified by the community.
Who are involved in these groups?
Primarily it is Staple Hill residents. We also work with local businesses, our police beat team, the council, our health service, schools and youth groups. We get a lot of support from local churches and other voluntary groups.
What are some recent achievements?
2013 was a busy year for us. One of the most obvious achievements was the refurbishment of The Square after many years of hard work securing funds and consulting with residents and businesses. We have now finished consulting with Merlin and we’re looking forward to new landscaping around the Pendennis Estate.
The local crime rate has been continuously falling for years now; the latest figures show a further nine per cent crime reduction.
We have set up a group to award small grants from a Community Development Fund and we have notice boards around the ward to advertise local initiatives. Christmas on the Hill celebrated its 15th birthday in December. We have two very active senior citizens’ friendship clubs.
The Our Place community flat runs a fantastic job club which has a great success rate. Its team also runs a toddler group, child accident prevention classes, lunch clubs and lots of events throughout the year for all ages.
On a lighter note we were pleased to have been able to fund our first Christmas tree for the centre of Staple Hill.
What does it aim to achieve in future?
Among many other things, we’re currently working to try to secure a dedicated youth club in the old Staple Hill Primary School building. We have never had a dedicated youth club for our area despite the fact that providing practical support for our children and young people is a priority issue for our ward.
Where does the money come from and how is it administered and distributed?
We have a grant from South Gloucestershire Council which enables us to employ our community development worker, Julie Snelling, for eight hours a week. Having a community development worker helps our fantastic treasurer, Terry Dando, to search out, and apply for, all sorts of grants for specific projects from a wide range of charities and agencies.
Which groups have benefited?
Over the years we successfully campaigned for the new library, primary school and town square. We hope that the work we have done has helped many individuals and groups in Staple Hill. For example some of the recent grants we have secured have helped the Citizens Advice Bureau, The Methodist Youth Project, Christmas on the Hill, The Friends of Page Park, Our Place and many others.
Tell us about Our Place Community Flat
The Community Flat is in the heart of the Pendennis Estate at 1a Berkley House. It is where the lunch club and job club meets. It is also used by all sorts of community groups as a meeting place and is a useful drop in centre for lots of advice on local community projects.
How does Merlin Housing Society regeneration work on Pendennis flats fit in to the project?
Merlin has been really helpful in supporting our work to make the Pendennis flats a great place to live. The flats are generally well appointed; however the surroundings are ill thought out and uninspiring. We have been used as a reference group to help with the plans to landscape the area. The work is due start very soon, weather permitting.
Where can people find further information about the partnership?
There are notice boards outside the library, Kingswood Leisure Centre, Our Place community flat and Staple Hill Methodist Church. We have just got planning permission to install an information monitor in The Square and are now looking to secure the funding for it.
How can people get involved?
We are always keen to welcome new volunteers. If you want to get involved please give me a call on 01454 864077 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.