Onion Collective is a proud partner in the Watchet Coastal Community Team's successful application on the Place Based Social Action Programme, called Watchet Connects.
Image: Watchet Coastal Community Team with representatives from Somerset County Council, West Somerset and Taunton Deane District Council, Watchet Town Council, Onion Collective and Community Council Somerset
This year, Onion Collective are proud to be a partner in a new new project led by Watchet Coastal Community Team that celebrates the power of community and aims to devise a plan that will show how local people can help solve local difficulties by working together.
Watchet Coastal Community Team is delighted that their application for £240,000 for Place Based Social Action is successful. The project is one of only ten places countrywide to be awarded the prestigious funding in a highly competitive process from The National Lottery Community Fund and Department of Digital, Culture Media and Sport (DCMS). They are now able to deliver six strands of community action projects that aim to work with and engage local people to help solve local problems.
The funding is to support volunteering and social action in the town over three years, and is the result of a year’s worth of work by the WCCT to establish what the local difficulties were in the town and co-design solutions as to how local people might be involved in fixing some of those problems. Led by Watchet Coastal Community Team as a membership organisation, Onion Collective will be the lead delivery partner.
The funding will support six projects that include: young people, peer tutors and a ‘mini university’ community transport, information sharing, deliberative democracy and digital gaming. Part of the mini university project will also be to refurbish the much loved Harbour Community Bookshop building at 7 The Esplanade, as a community volunteer build.
This successful bid is a great example of collaboration between the whole Watchet community, as well as Onion Collective, Watchet Town Council, West Somerset and Taunton Deane District Council, Somerset County Council, and Watchet Coastal Community Team. The WCCT are thankful for the level of collaboration and unified desire so see the best outcome achieved for the town.
The Placed Based Social Action programme is funded using £4.5 million of Government and National Lottery money. It aims to support communities to put social action at the heart of plans which make a positive difference in the local area. It gives people the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the design and delivery of local services by bringing together communities, local authorities, public sector organisations, service providers, civil society organisations and businesses to address local priorities.
Following the three years of delivery for this project, up to five of the ten partnerships now put through will be awarded further funding of up to £255,000 to develop and expand their plans for another three years to December 2024.
Watchet Coastal Community Team is a partnership organisation made up of 30 local organisations, businesses, community groups and Town, District and County Council. The team work collaboratively to help further initiatives that help to benefit the town both economically and socially. The Watchet CCT now want to appeal to any local people who are interested in becoming involved with any of the projects, and who would like to know more.
Peter Murphy, WCCT Chair, said: “We are thrilled to have been successful in winning the funding for this important programme, our bid was called ‘Watchet Connects’ and at its heart is an ambition to build on the huge strength of community spirit we are lucky to have in Watchet. The projects we will now deliver will build on that spirit of energy and collective problem solving to help tackle some of our most difficult issues.”
Cllr Anthony Trollope-Bellew, Leader of West Somerset Council, said:
“West Somerset Council is proud to have worked closely with the Watchet Coastal Communities Team in support of its successful and innovative ‘Watchet Connects’ bid. We have committed match funding and also the lease of the community bookshop building on the Esplanade, which forms a key component of this excellent project. This is a model of collaboration between the Council and community to support the well-being and vitality of our area and we are delighted to be involved”.
Mims Davies, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said:
“We know that people want to give back to their communities and the issues they care about the most. This fund will stretch across the length and breadth of the country, helping even more people to take action – whether that be volunteering their time, skills and expertise, giving money to good causes or through simple acts of neighbourly kindness.”