Organisation: Middle of the Hill Community Group

Project name: The Community Hub at Nouncells Cross

Priority Type: Creating Safer Communities

Total Investment: 1500.00

Awarded: 2022/2023

Location: Stroud

About the project:

The funding is requested to help sustain the work of the Community Group, and continue to run the community hub, which enables a close collaboration between residents and the Stroud Neighbourhood Policing Team to tackle anti-social behaviour and create a safer community space. Our Foodhub, which is expanding in to a community cafe, provides a focal point for the community and a place to meet the PCSO, the beat officers as well as other professionals who can provide support around debt advice, housing issues, addiction and substance use and money management. Many of our visitors and neighbours have complex needs (often rooted in Adverse Childhood Experiences) and face a range of challenges which can all be contributing factors to offending, re-offending and anti-social behaviour which impacts on the whole community. We aim, in a small way, to help support neighbours but also, perhaps leading to a greater impact, provide a platform and safe and trusted space for agencies such as the police to meet and interact with local residents (often called hard to reach) helping our partner agencies to more effectively meet their aims and objectives and strength their work. Our community room is a thriving community hub that vulnerable people feel happy to come to and we know that they are more likely to engage in that space as it is their space and in their community. The steering committee of MHCG is deeply rooted within the community and well placed to be a vehicle for facilitating communication between the police, the Neighbourhood Warden and the Dystric Council's ASB officer and people who live in the area. This is one of the key aims of the newly established Community Partnership Forum (Terms of Reference attached) and which makes our attendance at events the police have organised and invited us to so successful. We know that Inspector Cruise and Sgt Weller value us as partners in the joint effort to improve outcomes at Nouncells Cross, tackle crime and the causes of crime. Keeping the community hub running (which opens its doors three times per week and will soon be serving food that can be eaten on the premises) is central to community cohesion we are developing and already seeing the benefits of. The wider area is diverse, with a stigma legacy attached to Nouncells Cross, and the work of the community group and the community hub is breaking down barriers, building relationships, strengthening the community and its relationship with statutory agencies. Costs for us in maintaining our communication channels relate to our quarterly newsletters (which the PCSO and Neighbourhood Warden is always invited to contribute to) which in 2020-2021 cost us GBP230 in ink alone, so with adding in increased community engagement we would predict our printing costs including recycled paper to be approx. GBP500 per annum. As an organisation running a community hub handling food and enabling local residents to be involved in gardening work our public liability insurance has increased to in the region of GBP300 per year and we cannot operate without this. Furthermore, in order to sustain the food hub and community cafe (through our annual subscription to Fare Share Southwest) we need to spend GBP700 pa. In addition, the Community Forum Partnership wish to undertake a thorough Secure by Design (SBD) review of the whole estate (which has a challenging geographical and topographical layout) to look, in a holistic way and with community engagement, and the current position and how arrangements and measures can be strengthened to create a safer community space in order to reduce anti-social behaviour and support PCC priorities, strengthening the work of the local police. We are requesting a contribution of GBP1500 towards this survey, to support the accompanying community engagement and as a contribution toward the resulting improvements that may arise from this (alongside funds Stroud District Council will provide).