“IT’S amazing the things people can do when a community really pulls together.”
That’s the verdict of Matt Leach, chief executive of Local Trust after a fact finding mission to Church Hill.
Matt was in Redditch to tour the achievements of Church Hill Big Local, the community group set up five years ago after the new town estate was awarded £1million in funding through the National Lottery’s biggest ever endowment scheme.
With the money delivered through Local Trust, the area was one of 150 across the country to receive the funding, to be spent over 10 to 15 years.
And he came bearing glad tidings for the Big Local team.
“The programme has been so successful it will fund another £105,000 to support what they are doing here,” he said.
Big Local’s successes are many: As well as organising litter picks and produce fairs, walking routes have been established, benches installed around the estate, links have been forged with 6Towns Credit Union and a wealth of projects have been backed, from 1st Church Hill Scouts to Redditch First Responders, youth football and Willow Trees Community Centre.
In between extensive planting work has been undertaken, with a community orchard planted and even cookery classes organised to improve culinary skills.
“What I have seen is the emergence of something amazing,” said Matt.
“I’ve been getting a real sense that this is not just a bunch of homes built in the 70s and 80s but a really strong community making the most of the opportunities presented.”
Chris Church who is the link between Local Trust and Church Hill Big Local added: “The extent to which they are making use of the skills and talents of people in the community is part of what Big Local is all about and also making relations with young people to transform anti social behaviour problems on the estate.
“It’s not about what can we spend the money on but the really strong community that comes out of it.”
Also present was Kevin Dicks, chief executive of Redditch Borough Council, who said: “This is about building a true partnership with Big Local and it has been good to come here and be reminded just how beautiful Redditch is.”
Church Hill has a population of just over 8,000. More than 50 per cent of households fall within the socio-economic category of ‘financially stretched’.