Community of the Month: Kimberworth Park Community Partnership
Posted on the 26th October 2016
Kimberworth Park Community Partnership (KPCP) is a local charity in Rotherham, South Yorkshire whose membership includes local people, groups, agencies and organisations who all work closely together to create a sense of community spirit, through taking action and delivering services and activities to meet local needs.
KPCP emerged as a result of local peoples’ concern and need to address the lack of social and economic regeneration in the area. The group wanted to focus on the needs of those most vulnerable in the community – older people, young people and families. It was identified that the people that needed the most support were those with low confidence, those least likely to access services and those who are isolated.
Saving the Chislett Young People’s Centre
In March 2011 Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council announced a range of public sector cuts which had the potential to ravage local community activity. Ostensibly this meant the withdrawal of services, including closing down the Chislett Young People’s Centre, removal of all but one service for young people in the area, closure of the local swimming pool and library and a cut in support for community group investment.
Local people began to challenge the closure of the Chislett Centre and campaigned for the running of the centre to be handed over to the community. As a result of hard work and determination, by September 2011 a community asset transfer was in place. KPCP, with a very small budget, took on the challenge of retaining the centre as a community hub from which they would develop community owned and delivered services to meet local needs.
The centre has since acted as a flagship for new services and acts as an inspiration to local people, volunteers, staff and directors alike. The building now has a warm and friendly, family atmosphere and is a place where the community can learn, develop and come together.
“We have thrived and are thriving beyond anything we could ever have anticipated.”
Denise Butterell, Community Consultant
Kimberworth Park Community Partnership now deliver a very successful social enterprise, a range of youth programmes which support young people to make most of their skills and abilities, while also breaking down barriers between local young people and the wider community, and a small but well-equipped community gym.
The Chislett Centre provides a range of services for the whole community, from 0 to 90+.
Local Service transformation
The partnership applied and was successful at making it on to the 2014-15 Our Place programme. The Our Place programme looked at transforming local services by ‘re-shaping’ them or providing them differently where a gap had been identified.
Our Place enabled KPCP to explore how they could work more closely with the public sector to improve local services. The outcome of this was a year’s action research which produced a comprehensive evidence base showing the impact and cost effectiveness of local services and activities as they related to the isolation/loneliness of older people.
Learning from this provided supportive evidence for a successful Big Lottery Reaching Communities application which provided the group with almost £500,000 to address isolation and loneliness through offering 1-1 support across target groups in the area.
Going forward Kimberworth Park Community Partnership’s sustainability planning involves building on the strengths of their community hub and community development experience/achievements through exploiting their enterprise potential.
The Partnership see these approaches as realistic opportunities for KPCP to continue to increase services that meet local needs, alongside the potential to create new income streams that will increase their level of reserves and surplus which in turn will provide a significant contribution towards core costs.
“We have come a long way from meagre beginning some five years ago. We have embraced and successfully managed change. We have maintained a belief in a strong bottom-up approach – working directly with community members at their own pace to a point where social capital, capacity and confidence has increased. Local people are now making decisions about local services which respond to local need.”
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