Like most organisations, The Congleton Partnership was greatly affected by Covid 19 and Lockdown in that all of its face to face activities ground to a halt. That does not mean however that The Partnership took a year off, far from it. Below are updates on what the groups achieved/supported over the last 12 months, the joint working that was carried out and the new partnerships that were formed. Hopefully these new partnerships will continue to develop and benefit our residents well into the future.
Volunteer Hours. Whilst somewhat understated over 7000 volunteer hours were accumulated to a value of over £100K, it is difficult to capture every bit of support generated by so many diverse activities that often go unreported. Volunteer support
Dementia Group. Telephone calls, Zoom meetings, information/support emails became the main vehicle of communications and will remain so until May/June 2021. The Dementia lead for The partnership has continued to work with Jo Cliffe in developing a Dementia Strategy for Cheshire East along with input from other forum members. Early 2021 has seen a joint project being worked on with Cheshire Police (PCSO’s) and extra £2k funding to support the project from The police and 4 local trusts. Also involved in the project are AgeUK, Congleton Lions and CE Dementia Reablement team, truly a great example of partnership working. The project will deliver activity packs for people living with dementia within Congleton. The 3 local GP surgeries are now working with us to advise their dementia patients of what is available. Longer-term we with the help of Congleton Library are looking to set up a swop shop for games/activities. Partnership development/improving lives
Senior Forum. This group was restarted in Dec 2020 and drew up a list of priority projects for the next 12 months. One of these was setting up a telephone befriending service to support residents living in social isolation and building on the Covid support that has been on offer. Once again joint working was preferred to “reinventing the wheel” and partnerships with AgeUK, Cheshire Hospice and Changing Lives Together are being worked on. Joint working / social isolation
Cenotaph group. The building program was completed in time for limited use on Armistice Day Nov 2020. 250+ extra names were added to the new Portland Stone Plaques, 3 flag poles sited and an improved elevated position was developed for the Saxon Cross. The site has also benefited from improved access for all, and a much improved landscaped appearance. We are now looking to develop an educational feature/ information by use of technology so that researchers around the fallen can be carried out. A dedication event is being planned for Sept 2021, and we are then looking forward to being fully opened (Covid providing) to welcome the usual large crowds that normally attend the Armistice Day Remembrance event in November. Heritage / Education / Amenity.
Congleton Hydro Scheme. This project around 5 years in the making is now heading towards completion. Situated in Havannah on The River Dane, funded by a community share scheme (£710K) is also developing new joint working with Siemens and Eaton Bank Academy. Power generation should start late June early July and the “65,000kWh should result in a saving of around 283,000 tonnes of CO2 and generate around £58k revenue for shareholders and environmental projects. A boardwalk down to the site is being constructed so that visitors/school parties can be welcomed to not only see the site itself but learn about its development, the engineering involved and how it will play its part in improving our environment. A number of interpretation boards will help relay this information as you progress along the boardwalk. New partnerships / education / environment improvement
SLIC Course. CSG has been running small session workshops for a number of years now using a paper/ booklet model. To reach a greater number of people and encourage them to adopt some carbon saving life changes, a joint project between CSG and Congleton Town Council has been going on to not only update the course but putting into a digital format that can be downloaded by individuals in the comfort of their own home and hopefully adopt some of the changes highlighted. Congleton like Cheshire East has declared a climate emergency and this will help support this aspect.
Joint Working /Education / Climate Emergency / Zero Carbon Target.
Friday Lunch Club. With lockdown, the usual luncheon clubs at St John’s Community Centre and United Reformed Church closed down. For a few weeks, a local business created ready-made chilled meals for residents which were delivered by Congleton Town Council. Once this stopped The Old Saw Mill took up the challenge of producing the meals and The Town Council has carried on delivering 70+ meals each week around the town. This operation will carry on until such time as the clubs can reopen and face to face relationships/fellowship can begin again. OSM are happy to grow this to around 100 meals a week, delivered on a Friday.
Joint working / Community welfare / supporting wellbeing.
Youth Forum. Whilst most contact with the youth forum has been passing information/ opportunities to the group via emails, an event day was organized by Bromley Farm Community Development Trust and Congleton Community Projects. Around 40 young people benefitted from social interaction and at the same time learnt some new food/music skills. Social interaction and life skills development.
COVID 19 Support service. A number of Partnership members were involved with (and still are) the Covid 19 steering group and action line. The Partnership officer worked with the team to develop the Covid support material for the Covid Website pages carrying out research and information gathering. Team working / Resident support & Information
Mini Buses. There was only limited usage of the minibuses during the last 12 months although maintenance and running costs were incurred. Two or three groups took advantage of a lowering of covid restrictions throughout Aug/Sept and one of the buses was used for just over a month to support The Hub food delivery/welfare operations. Later usage was around the delivery of some Xmas welfare bags from NLC. Welfare /Community support.
Trees for Congleton. A target of 30,000 trees has been set (one for each resident) to date 37 sites are involved, both public and residential with 3730 new trees/hedges being planted. Some restrictions have limited the number of volunteers/hours possible. Some farmland sites have been identified and should come into play during the next 12 months, also a large number of trees have been planted along the new link road and still have to be counted into the figures. Community / Environment / Business partnership
Active Travel. A large amount of work being carried out to improve both town centre and linkage from the new builds into town. Work is being done with Cheshire East and Sustrans to improve walking and cycling to encourage more healthy ways of commuting with added health aspects. Health / Air Quality / Environment.
It is to be hoped that we can soon get back to some “normality” and start-up our activity programmes once more. Already being planned for 2021 are- Green Fayre, Wellbeing Fayre, Town Centre Play Day, Dementia Events (Games mornings), Cenotaph Dedication Event to name but a few. The tree programme will carry on and usage of the minibuses will once again mean residents will be able to get out and enjoy themselves.