“Swap Shop”

2 Apr

One of the most outstanding elements of the Bolton Neighbourhood Challenge (BNC) is the development of a support network where skills and resources are being shared, not only between the Award Winners, but also with the members of the Awards Panel, Mentors and Partners that have become involved with the project.

Many of the people involved with the programme have met up at some time through the networking and training opportunities that have been provided and have exchanged numbers and emails and discussed ways of potentially working together.

Sole 2 Sole, our first Award Winners, are currently running creative sessions for lone parents at the Great Lever Children’s Centre in Rumworth and are offering a wide variety of activities including pamper sessions, arts and craft sessions, IT skills, picnics and outings.

Itai and Nike (left with one of their members, Kirsty and her son Paul) are brilliant networkers and have engaged with a wide range of people to help them to develop their enterprise.

Sole 2 Sole recently visited The Kitchen on Great Moor Street, which is a co-operative in Bolton, and who will now be delivering workshops on food and nutrition at a Sole 2 Sole session in the future; Jean Urmston who is setting up Bolton Urban Growers (BNC Award Winner) is working with Sole 2 Sole to encourage its members to grow fruit and vegetables in their gardens – Kirsty now has a raised bed and a small greenhouse and is already on her way to growing tasty food for her family; David Shuttleworth who is running You Promote (BNC Award Winner) is working with Sole 2 Sole to make a video which can be used to promote their services on You Tube, Facebook and through any other media; members of Sole 2 Sole are engaging with Muntu (BNC Award Winners) and attending their percussion workshops; and just recently after meeting at a book keeping workshop run by BNC, Michael Steenson (BNC “Dragon’s Den” Award Winner) has offered to run a music workshop at Sole 2 Sole’s event in May 2012!

This just goes to show that networking can bring about all kinds of benefits to new enterprises. Not only are Sole 2 Sole benefiting from developing these partnerships, the people and enterprises that they are engaging with are benefiting in their turn too. They are sharing their services, skills and knowledge and building up a network of social entrepreneurs who can support each other long after the Bolton Neighbourhood Challenge programme.

To further develop these relationships it is planned to hold a “swap shop” workshop at the beginning of May which will not only provide the opportunity for the BNC entrepreneurs to find out more each other and how they can support each other, but also introduce them to successful entrepreneurs in Bolton who have been at this “setting up” phase and understand the barriers they currently face and how they overcame them. We will let you know it goes …


… and on ….

28 Mar

Muntu which means “humanbeing” is being set up by Peter Dlomo and Sandile Mpande. Peter has been a professional artist for over 20 years – composer, percussionist, writer, dance and musician. Sandile is a percussionist, singer and dancer. Both Peter and Sandile are passionate about engaging with local communities to introduce them to music through percussion.  Muntu was awarded £3,858 by the Bolton Neighbourhood Challenge to provide 2 hour creative workshops every Saturday at the Willows Community Centre in Rumworth for young people and their families. The award has been used to purchase a diverse range of percussion instruments, venue hire, insurance and publicity materials.

Muntu was given their award at the last panel in December 2012 and began delivering the workshops in February 2012. At the first session attended by the Bolton Neighbourhood Project Officer, four members were attending, by the next one there were nine, with promises from members of the community to bring more people along the following week.

The sessions are vibrant, rhythmic, and really get your feet tapping and your fingers itching to start drumming. Each week a new rhythm is introduced with the aim to bring all the dances and songs together at the end of the Award’s period to showcase all of the performers with the music. The sessions are absolutely brilliant and anybody living in the Rumworth area should go down to have a go.

Muntu are already in demand to perform at community events across Bolton including Halliwell’s ‘Respect Me Respect You’ event in April and Bolton Interfaith Council (with Bolton Council)’s ‘Spirit of Bolton’ event in July in the town centre. They have been asked to perform a welcome to the “Games” torch at the end of May and it is anticipated they will perform at the Celebration Event for the Bolton Neighbourhood Challenge. Muntu will be performing at all of these events with their members from the local community.

The photograph above reveals a workshop in session with Peter Dlomo (far left) with Sandile Mpande (far right), members of the community  (on the drums) and Nevel, their volunteer.

Watch this space for more news about our entrepreneurial Award Winners and the inspiring projects that they are delivering …

… and the beat goes on …

28 Mar

The Bolton Neighbourhood Challenge has spent the past month visiting some of the programme’s Award Winners in action on their projects … the first project is Upbeat Media.

Alex English and Daniel Rostron aka Upbeat Media were awarded £2,465 in November 2011 to deliver a pilot series of DJ, music production and video workshops for young people once a week in Great Lever. The award has been used to buy equipment, weekly room hire, refreshments, insurance and towards a showcase event. Both Alex and Daniel are passionate about music production and working with local communities.

The visit to their project took place in late February 2012 at Sunnyside Community Centre where they are delivering their sessions.  You could hear the beat from outside the building and from entering the building, it turned out that the sessions were proving to be very popular! Alex and Daniel have utilised the room really effectively so that the young people have the opportunity to try out different equipment with the DJ-ing in one corner and music production in the other. Over the past few weeks the young people have been making their own music which is being laid down into tracks. While all this is going on, each young people is being shown the different techniques of making videos (picture shows Alex (left) showing one of the young people how to use the video equipment). These sessions will be ongoing until the end of May and we are looking forward to seeing the video produced at the end, all of which will have been produced by the young people benefiting from the project.

Alex is also the man behind the recording and editing of the “Dragon’s Den” DVD which he carried out on a voluntary basis with expenses using the equipment funded through the Bolton Neighbourhood Challenge Award.

The “Dragons’ Lair”

20 Feb

Back left to right: Mithun Kerai, Michael Steenson, Thomas Defreitas, Ashley Heyes, David Hamilton, Saeed Atcha; Front left to right: The "Dragons" - Ian Laithwaite, Tracy Fenton, Darryl Morris

We finally had our “Dragon’s Den” event on Saturday 4th February at the YMCA in Bolton. It was a brilliant day! Everything went really smoothly and everyone who attended enjoyed it.

Once the “Dragons” – Tracy Fenton of ArtFantastic, Ian Laithwaite of Bolton Wanderers Community Trust, and Darryl Morris of BBC Radio Manchester, had been settled into the “Dragons’” lair and they had been fully briefed, the “pitches” started. There were five pitches in all with six young people presenting their pitch and then answering probing questions from the Dragons.

Finally all the pitches had been given and while a delicious vegetarian lunch was being served, the Dragons discussed all of the pitches together and made their decisions.

As snow had been falling heavily, we brought the “verdict” forward so that people could get home a bit more easily and the Dragons announced the Winners …. all of the young people who had pitched were awarded £1000. The judges handed out Certificates to all of the young people and as well as giving their decisions, made some positive recommendations which would help the winners deliver their projects more effectively.

Ashley Heyes will be delivering “Off The Chest”, lyric writing and rapping workshops to young people from Great Lever – he aims to enable young people with personal issues to express their emotions in a creative way through music and to feel good about themselves.

David Hamilton wants to set up an intergenerational support project in Great Lever to be delivered by young people for older people doing weekly jobs including window cleaning, gardening, shopping, general repairs – he aims to give older people the opportunity to develop better relationships with younger people.

Michael Steenson is going to set up “S-A-S – Safe & Sound”, a recording studio for young people to record their music and to support them in gaining a positive individual attitude with the aim of drawing them away from negative and abusive behaviour.

Mithun Kerai & Saeed Atcha want to set up Growing Together in Rumworth, a fruit and vegetable growing co-operative with the objective of inviting local residents to sow, grow and harvest fruit and vegetables. This project will give the opportunity to produce fresh food and to be healthier.

Tom Defreitas is going to set up “Smiles” and deliver a community event in a disadvantaged area of Great Lever with specialist sports activities, fun activities for all the family and a “bake off”! He aims to bring the local community together and promote community cohesion.

 The whole event was a great success! Everyone really pulled together to make the day fun, interactive and once again The Kitchen (a local social enterprise) provided a superb buffet. We are really looking now to working with the young award winners and helping them to make their projects a success.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Julian Finch, Manager of the YMCA for being so supportive of this event, James, YMCA Caretaker, who helped set up and clear up after the event. I would also like to thank the staff, Trustees, and volunteers from Bolton Interfaith Council – you all did a fab job providing great hospitality to the young people coming to pitch and looking after their guests – I really couldn’t have done it without you. A big thank you too to Sarah Yorke of UnLtd, who, although she couldn’t attend the event gave loads of support running up to the event. Finally, of course, a huge thank you to our three “Dragons” who gave up their time on a Saturday and really played their parts!

“Dragons” On Board …

1 Feb

We are eagerly awaiting the outcome of the “Dragon’s Den” competition, which takes place on Saturday, 4th February. The “Dragon’s Den” is a fantastic chance for people aged 16-21 to pitch their ideas to a panel of “Dragons”.

We are very pleased that four key local people have offered their time and given up a Saturday to be our “Dragons”:

Tracy Fenton is a local businesswoman who has set up ArtFantastic, in partnership with Annemarie Longden. ArtFantastic is a community interest company which is based in Tonge Fold, Bolton. ArtFantastic provides workshops promoting self-awareness, positive change and self-esteem in a creative environment. Both Tracy and Annemarie have supported the Bolton Neighbourhood Challenge from the beginning of the programme and Tracy has also volunteered mentoring support to our Award Winners.

Liz Douglas is a successful and motivated businesswoman and has the passion and determination to develop communities. Liz has set up Personal and Community Development, a community interest company providing comprehensive and personal development and social regeneration programmes to individuals and groups within the community. Liz founded the Roots Project which embeds social entrepreneurialism in local communities.  Liz has offered some pro bono training to the Challenge programme and has offered a level of one to one support to the Award Winners.

Ian Laithwaite is the Community Manager of Bolton Wanderers Community Trust which is an independent registered charity supported by Bolton Wanderers FC, and provides sporting and educational activities to children and young people. Ian and his team work to improve the lives of the local community through diverse education and social inclusion projects.

Darryl Morris is a radio presenter from Bolton currently presenting on BBC Radio Manchester. He began his career on school radio and went on to present the Generation Next (BBC) series, had a brief stint on Key 103 before joining BBC Radio Manchester as a researcher and then gaining an on air role. Darryl sits on the board of directors of Bolton FM, the local community radio station and is an active supporter of community radio projects.

The Bolton Neighbourhood Challenge team is looking forward to working with the “Dragons” on 4th February and hope that a few young people will be given the opportunity to realise their aspirations and deliver local projects in Great Lever, Halliwell and/or Rumworth.

Take a look at our blog over the coming weeks to see how the “Dragon’s Den” competition goes and who will join our team of Bolton Neighbourhood Challenge Community Entrepreneurs!

Opening Doors

25 Jan

We had our last Awards panel in December with four new Award Winners joining our network of Community Entrepreneurs.

Thank you to the Awards Panel for supporting the Bolton Neighbourhood Challenge and contributing your time to this unique opportunity for local people. We have really enjoyed working with you and I know that I can say, on behalf of the Bolton Interfaith Council Executive, that they really enjoyed meeting you all at the celebration lunch after the December panel.

Once again, a diverse range of community entrepreneurialism was presented to the Panel.  Congratulations to all of the Bolton Neighbourhood Challenge Award Winners and we wish you success and sustainability in the future. Here is a brief overview of each Community Entrepreneur’s project and what they hope to achieve.

Anne Fasan is setting up the Stretcher Project, which will provide opportunities for people in Halliwell to gain training and support in setting up their own social enterprises. This project is on the cusp of starting and we will provide an update once it is up and running.

Peter Dlomo and Sandile Mdande are working in partnership to establish Muntu, (which means ‘humanbeing’). Muntu will offer drumming, dancing and drama workshops to families and the local community in Rumworth. Muntu hopes to increase the bonds between parents and their children through learning together, and to increase awareness of local social issues through drama. They started their sessions last Saturday. Peter and Sandile have also been networking with organisations in the voluntary sector to promote their project and to book workshops at events that are being organised in 2012.

Ferenc Csonka is working with the local Hungarian community in Halliwell with the aim of increasing children and young peoples’ English speaking skills. He anticipates setting up the Roma Cultural Group and is already networking with the local Neighbourhood Manager in Halliwell. He hopes to engage with local organisations and provide an insight into Hungarian culture through dance at events in Bolton.

Last but not least is Farhat Shaheen who is promoting the Footsteps Programme through delivery of training to increase peoples’ health and wellbeing in Halliwell. This programme should be starting shortly and we will let you know how the project is progressing very soon.

We have now funded 11 projects with a total of 14 Community Entrepreneurs being awarded monies to help them set up their own enterprises. This is outstanding considering the project only began in June 2011, with the first Awards panel being held in September. Of those funded prior to December, three projects have already started with the rest hoping to begin by the end of January.

A training support and networking programme has now started with a range of training available to the entrepreneurs: Introducing Outcomes, Strategic Planning, Budgeting and Accounting, Governance and Legal Structures, Income Generation and Funding, Media and Promotion, Social Networking. The first Introducing Outcomes 2-day course has now been completed which is a precursor to the Strategic Planning course – all of the learners really enjoyed the course and are already developing outcomes frameworks for their projects. It also provided a great opportunity to meet each other, to network, and to share resources.

The entrepreneurs can also benefit from UnLtd Connect’s training programme and networking opportunities to enable them to increase their skills and widen their support networks.

“Dragon’s Den” hits the news …

19 Jan


We now have four “Dragons” with Ian Laithwaite (Bolton Wanderers Community Trust) and Darryl Morris (Presenter with BBC Radio Manchester) joining the “Dragon” team …

The deadline has been extended to 10 am Monday, 23 January to allow people who have expressed interest this week to have time to plan their project and to apply … interest has been high so far and we’re looking forward to putting young people forward to pitch their ideas …

Busy weeks ahead putting everything in place for the “Den” … will bring more news to you shortly …

New Year update …

12 Jan

Happy New Year everyone … and best wishes for 2012.

We had a great panel in December with five applications being assessed, four of which were successful, and one being deferred which is to be considered by an e-panel next week. Full info on all of  our  new entrepreneurs will be given shortly in a separate blog.

The big challenge we are currently facing is the “Dragon’s Den” style competition which is all set to go on Saturday 4th February – the extra time has given us a lot more promotional opportunities but it’s only this week that we are beginning to get lots of enquiries and requests for application packs … so fingers crossed that lots of applications will be made and we have a good number of young people to make their pitch for £1000.

We have been involving the voluntary and community sector with the Bolton Neighbourhood Challenge as a route to getting information out to a much wider audience … especially groups that work with young people so that we can promote the Dragon’s Den competition. In addition, the panel comprises people representing each area and they are really keen to stay involved with the project, not only on the e-panel but also with engaging with the award winners and finding out more about their projects.

The most surprising aspect of this project is perhaps the number of people that have successfully applied for the funding and the diverse range of projects that have been funded.

We are really looking forward to working with all of the Bolton Neighbourhood Challenge entrepreneurs over the next few months. The training programme has now commenced, and started with Introducing Outcomes, delivered yesterday to six entrepreneurs.  It was a great morning and provided a brilliant opportunity for the Award Winners to get to know each other. By the end of the morning, they were working really well together and had swopped contact details so that they can work better together in the future. All in all, a great outcome!

New Year, New Challenge …

12 Jan


Welcome Aboard HMS Challenge

13 Dec

As we wait for the outcome of our final Neighbourhood Challenge panel, let’s welcome aboard Jean Urmston and Kathryn Austerberry, successful applicants from the November panel.

Jean Urmston, a support worker for people with brain injuries, has lived in Great Lever all of her life and has become involved with community activity in the area.  With cash and support from the Bolton Neighbourhood Challenge, Jean is setting up a new enterprise, Bolton Urban Growers (BUGS). Her objective is to provide people living in social housing in Great Lever with the training, support, equipment and tools to grow organic fruit and vegetables in their own gardens/back yards. Jean anticipates developing materials to sell to housing associations to enable them to implement the programme in other areas and to design and deliver a series of workshops on growing food. Great Lever is an area of high disadvantage in  Bolton with a high level of poor health and economic constraints on people living in social housing to access and buy locally grown organic fresh fruit and vegetables. This project will increase skills in growing food, increase health, and provide new opportunities within the target area.

Kathryn Austerberry is a Foundation stage practitioner and has worked in primary education for seven years. Kathryn is setting up Sports Write and Sports Count, an innovative and exciting programme to benefit children and their parents/carers in Great Lever. The aim of the programme is to educate young children and their parents/carers on the fundamental basics of phonics and numbers in a fun and stimulating environment through playing different sporting games. The programme fills a niche created by government cuts – in Bolton, Sure Start centres which previously provided learning activities for pre-school children have been seriously affected and now deliver no sessions in this area. Sports Write and Sports Count will reduce inequalities in child development and school readiness; improve the wellbeing and social skills of young children; and increase parenting aspirations, self-esteem and parenting skills.

Jean and Kathryn are rolling out their programmes in the New Year and the Project Development Officer at Bolton Neighbourhood Challenge is looking forward to spending more time with them to learn more about their projects and to deliver the support and training that they need to make them a success.

In the meantime, the Bolton Interfaith Council wish Jean and Kathryn lots of luck and success in developing their programmes.


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