All sorts of great projects are run by communities across Kirklees.
As a council we do everything we can to support and encourage these schemes, helping local people make a real contribution to their local area.
For example, we launched our It’s Up To You project as a way of allocating funds for people-powered change. It’s Up To You gets residents involved in their community and also gives people a big say in what goes on locally – this means the work taking place in the community is the work that people most want to see.
So I’d like to tell you about a few of these projects. They highlight that small gestures can go a long way and they also show that, instead of relying on the council to get things done, it’s never been easier for communities to do more for themselves.
In Shepley, a group of keen gardeners applied for It’s Up To You funding so they could buy equipment for their allotments. After being allocated £500, they now own all sorts of new tools which will help with the upkeep of the area and are also available to all members any time they wish.
In Batley, a summer community event invited people to come along and decide which local schemes they wanted to support. In total there were 12 applications for funding and almost all of them were given the thumbs up. These included money towards a local community building, funding for fitness equipment and support to stage a picnic for families
In Ashbrow, Nova Vida is a community group running martial arts sessions for children and adults, helping to keep local people active. New funding allowed them to buy more safety mats, which had a huge impact on the standard of facilities and the number of members. Thanks to this funding the group is going from strength to strength.
In Sheepridge, a group of neighbours secured funding to transform a piece of wasteland near to their homes. Instead of being an eyesore, the land is now a small car park which is proving really useful for residents.
And in Heckmondwike, another wide range of projects has gained community backing. Amongst them are luncheon clubs, girls’ sporting activities and recognition for a retired couple who had been ‘doing their bit’ by picking up litter to keep their local streets tidy.
These examples are just the tip of the iceberg as literally hundreds of community-led projects are being delivered across Kirklees. We are committed to this work as a model of the way things should be done in future. After all, within two years, our budget will be 40 per cent smaller compared with 2010. And when we talk about ‘New Council’, this is what we mean – supporting people to do more for themselves and each other.