Historically Anwick was a thriving village with a very active social life. The factory located in the parish was the main employer with most employees also living locally.
Through the years, the demographic has changed with the majority of the work force no longer living in the area. Also the factory produces unpleasant odours, which has led to some newcomers to the village either leaving shortly after they arrive or appearing to regret moving to the village.
There is a main road which runs through the centre of the village and separates the community in two, with one side being predominantly local authority or ex-local authority properties and the other being private ownership. This again leads to more divisions locally.
There are a number of groups who operate in the area, not least the church and the community centre (which sit either side of the main road).
In early 2015 four local residents got together and decided to set up an informal residents group to help organise activities and events in the village.
What is Village SOS?
Village SOS is a £1.4m Big Lottery funded learning, outreach and engagement campaign that will inspire rural communities across the UK to start social enterprises. It is led by ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England), supported by its Network of 38 rural community councils; Wales Council for Voluntary Action; Senscot and Forth Sector in Scotland, and the Rural Community Network in Northern Ireland.
How is Community Lincs involved?
In Lincolnshire the central ‘VSOS Hub’, managed by ACRE, has matched each new enterprise with Community Lincs. Community Lincs offer advice ranging from how to plan a project, engaging with communities, to marketing and promoting a local event.
The Process for VSOS:
- The project committee hears about VSOS, contacts the VSOS Hub and becomes a member of the scheme.
- The VSOS Hub carries out a diagnostic to assess eligibility of the project.
- If the project is eligible for support the VSOS Hub sends the diagnostic to the project committee and Community Lincs.
- Community Lincs contacts the committee and arranges a meeting.
- At that first meeting Community Lincs discusses a Plan of Support with the committee and works out how they can effectively spend the funding available.
- Over the next three to six months the Plan of Support is delivered with the support of Community Lincs.
- Once the Plan of Support is complete, Community Lincs carry completes a report to ACRE of the activity that took place, the outcomes of this activity and any further actions for the group.
How did Anwick use the Village SOS scheme?
After hearing about the Village SOS scheme, the group decided they could use this funding and support to make their group more formal and set up an “Anwick Residents Group”.
The objectives of this project were to:
- Establish a community residents group
- Improve community cohesion locally
- Bring together existing community groups such as the church and community centre
- Increase community involvement in activities and events
- Create vibrant community assets.
With the funding available from Village SOS, the group were looking for support to carry out community consultation, make funding applications to improve the area and establish a local community residents group.
In September 2015 Samantha, a Community Lincs VSOS delegate met with the group to discuss their support needs and gave information on the process for Village SOS.
The group had access to £1215.00 from VSOS and were able to spend this on a number of activities as follows:
- An initial meeting with Community Lincs
- Contact with another well-established Residents Group near Gainsborough
- A series of community consultation activities:
- A paper survey that was used at two public events
- Door knocking exercise carried out by the committee to ask for views
- Two drop-in events – one at a local café and the other at a coffee morning in the community centre
- A community event where local residents could take part in taster sessions such as arts & crafts, quilting, computing and dancing
How has the community benefitted Community Lincs’ support?
Although the early stages of the community consultation activities were slow to get off the ground, more people are becoming aware of Anwick Resident’s Group and are looking forward to supporting the group again in the future.
After the event in May we now have a lot of extra people determined to help us set up this group and organise more events at the community centre.
Anwick is in the North Kesteven district and this work was underataken in September 2015.