SO18 Big Local
Who we are
SO18 Big Local is a project that covers parts of Harefield, Midanbury and Townhill Park in Southampton. These neighbourhoods together were awarded £1m from the Big Lottery Fund to make a lasting positive difference to the area over 10 years. The project is resident-led – what we do is driven by what residents in these areas tell us their priorities are, so we would love to hear from you!
n order to explore what youth provision remains in the SO18 Big Local area, and then identify areas where we can build on what exists, or where there are gaps that need tackling, we employed a part-time Youth Development Worker (YDW).
In the summer of 2014 and 2015, our YDW ran a Youth Week for local 11-13 year olds. She has also been working with the Kicks project based at Woodlands, as well as supporting other local groups and providing training.
The YDW has helped young people start their own forum, the “Speak Up SO18” group who meet regularly to work on small scale youth projects, and who also often volunteer at our other SO18 Big Local events. Our original YDW moved on to pastures new, but we have recruited a new Youth Worker, Naomi, who has taken on the role with Speak Up, and is additionally looking to get some youth projects going in Townhill Park too.
Additionally, we procure Southampton Children’s Play Association to provide additional playscheme weeks in the local area to support families in the half term holidays and during the summer. Southampton Rape Crisis has been procured (in the earlier years we funded them through a grant) to provide STAR sessions to school pupils to help teach them about healthy relationships.
SCPA are run and Annual Play day at Hoglands Park, and run play schemes throughout the summer and other holidays. For details of the next scheme they are running for SO18 Big Local, please click here.
Learning Through Sport are also running football courses at Soccer4All Youth FC in/nearby the SO18 Big Local area. For details of their new Harefield sessions, please see our events page.
If you would like to know more about our work with young people, then get in touch, or see the separate Facebook pages for our youth work, https://www.facebook.com/SO18BigLocalYouth/
Our vision is that people in our communities will be more confident in accessing and using IT, so that they are able to connect on line, use online services, with barriers to using IT reduced.
Digital Inclusion is one of our newer themes, but we have already worked with Townhill Park Community Association and Lovell to provide laptops and tablets at Townhill Park Community Centre. This enables us to run a weekly Tea & Tech session, alongside a weekly Job Club. Here residents can get support with job searches or writing CVs, or our Tea & Tech mentors can help with IT queries.
We also work with Woodlands Community College to provide IT courses, and have run short computer courses, workshops and more recently, tablet taster sessions.
SO18 Big Local is now also a registered UK Online Centre – please ask us for more details. Going forward we are concerned that some residents may “get left behind” as more services are moved to being online (often exclusively so) so we are looking at how we can effectively support local people to overcome the barriers they may face to using the internet.
The Community Wellbeing sub-group was formed in Year 3 to focus on our wellbeing theme. The vision is “to make a more connected, healthier, supportive community with good links and information sharing”.
Four inter-related areas were identified:
- tackling isolation and promoting community spirit
- to promote and improve health
- to improve access to information
- to develop inter-generational links
Building Community Spirit
SO18 Big Local wants our neighbourhoods to be even better places to live; places where people are actively engaging in their community, and that they are proud of.
We are working to ‘build community spirit’ by supporting local people to run and to come along to community events (so far, Spring Community Days and Halloween activities at Townhill Park, Winter Wonderland events in Harefield, and events run through our other themes like Nature Hunts and Community Wellbeing days.).
We have opened the Harefield Hub in a shop unit in Melchet Road, somewhere for people in the community to meet others and as a base for local activities, and we want to support the community centres in our area to be well used and organisationally secure.
Money & Advice
SO18 Big Local recognises that there are some challenges facing local people that we are unable to help with ourselves directly, as we do not have the expertise. Therefore in some instances we “buy in” services to bring help to the local area.
We currently procure SARC (Southampton Advice and Representation Centre) to provide twice-monthly advice sessions for local people who need support with employment law issues, or help with benefits. We also procure Frontline Debt Advice who provide support to those with money worries, debt issues or needing benefits advice.
Employment, Jobs & Enterprise
SO18 Big Local is keen to encourage enterprise in our local area, as well as supporting more people into work.
Moving forward, we wish to foster and facilitate ideas for local business and enterprise and are keen to help local people develop skills required to do this.
SO18 Big Local wants to support local people to have the skills and confidence to take action on issues affecting community life.
We have taken the initiative to bring together a Townhill Park Regeneration Forum, involving local groups meeting with the City Council and others so that there is an effective communication channel with local people about this important issue.
In Harefield we’re working with local people who are campaigning about the bus service, and we’re actively supporting resident involvement in the Decent Neighbourhood plans for the Vanguard Road area.