If at first you don’t succeed… which is exactly the fighting spirit that we like here at The Chronic from the Creative Co-op, a Colchester based social enterprise that is once again bidding to obtain some funds to help regenerate St Botolph’s.
We blogged back in July about how the hyperlocal organisation had pitched in an impressive bid for £53,000 of Portas Pilot funding. This was part of a national scheme where funds for hyperlocal projects are handed out by central government via the retail experience of Mary Portas.
Although unsuccessful in this initial bid, the Creative Co-op is keen to see the regeneration of St Botolph’s push ahead, and has now made a joint bid with Colchester Borough Council for £10,000 of funding.
Creative Co-op founder Marc De’ath explains:
“If the bid is successful a community mapping event to map buildings, traders, venues, landlords, residents and other users of the St Botolph’s area will be held. Developing a greater sense of civic pride will then be the focus. A shared history project of audio and video stories, photos and other materials will help everyone in the area appreciate the area’s history and future opportunities.”
It is this collaborative way of working and documenting the development of a hyperlocal location that The Chronic absolutely loves. We have seen the track record put in place by the Creative Co-op already around St Botolph’s. The creative co-working hub at 15 Queen Street, the Hidden Kiosks trading post and even This One Wall – all are examples of what can be achieved around Britain’s Oldest Recorded with a bottom up approach.
Partnering the Creative Co-op once again in this fresh Portas bid is CBC. This is very much an enabling role – the funding application form is keen for bidding organisations to explain how they can work alongside local councils, and to share the collaborative workload in the local community.
Cllr Paul Smith, the CBC portfolio holder for Finance commented:
“Whilst some businesses are evidently struggling, there is an overall positive picture for Colchester’s town centre. Colchester is one of the fastest growing districts in the country and is a hotspot for inward investment.
Initiatives such as this bid, and our aim to support small, independent retailers through the development of a Lanes-style offering, mean that all retail sectors should see significant uplift which can only be good news for Colchester’s competitive retail position.”
The Lanes idea is another example of collaboration in the town between CBC and local groups. Destination Colchester is leading on this concept. The plan is to create a series of independent shopping lanes, roughly mapping the route from Jumbo all the way down to St Botolph’s. Consultants who helped out with a similar successful scheme in Norwich are already on board.
The collapse of western capitalism [!] has slowed down the planned Cultural Quarter regeneration of St Botolph’s. A re-think was needed, and credit to CBC for seeing that a community led hyperlocal plan for the St Botolph’s is probably the best solution right now.
And so once again – in it to win, Sunny Colch…