Community shop idea in £1m Church Hill revamp

By Harriet Ernstsons Friday 16 November 2012 Updated: 19/11 12:21

CREATING a community shop and amateur dramatics clubs are just two of the ideas mooted as part of a £1million bid to improve Church Hill.

Residents have been invited to feedback on projects suggested so far and submit their own ideas by an interim committee formed to draw up a plan to spend the money given to the district by the lottery’s Big Local fund.

At a meeting on Tuesday (November 13) it was revealed the group was looking to develop plans around five key themes of open spaces and environment, community facilities, young people, older people and any other ideas.

Projects such as a credit union, food bank, a WI and a newsletter have already been suggested but the group is continuing to look for further ideas while they bid for a £20,000 Getting Started fund, which will enable them to spend the next six months devising a comprehensive plan about how to spend the £1million available over the following ten years.

Group chair Liz Williams told the Standard: “We’re asking residents to give us their ideas because that’s going to change everything in Church Hill for all of us.”

Further money is also available from UnLtd’s Star People project. The organisation works in Big Local areas to seek out individuals with social enterprise ideas which may benefit from a grant of up to £15,000.

Currently two projects have been identified - a mobile hairdresser for single parents and a bike scheme which would see two teenagers from the YMCA restore and recycle old bikes - although both are waiting to hear if they have been successful.

Those at the meeting were told the aims of Big Local were to help the community identify their needs and take action, increase the skills and confidence of those living there and involve residents in the long-term plan for the future.

Resident Christine Latham works with young people and was interested in how they would benefit from the money.

“I would like to see young people and older people working together on something, coming together and breaking down barriers as often young people think older people have got nothing to offer and vice versa,” she said.

“I’m here to pick up on the ideas and go away and think about them.”

Coun Roger Hill, one of the area’s representatives on Redditch Borough Council, said the project was ‘brilliant’ for Church Hill.

“I am very impressed with the speed at which the residents have got together and started the application. A lot of interest has been generated and a very professional approach has been undertaken by the interim committee. This can only be good for the future of the district.”

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