We are VERY pleased to announce that we have been awarded a grant of £10,000 for our work on the East Marsh. Our bid was entitled ‘Finding solutions closest to the challenge’ and the following text is from our bid answering the question ‘What would you like to do?’
Grimsby’s East Marsh is one of the most deprived wards in England with significant poverty indicators and problems of low educational attainment, low employment, high numbers of lone parents, high in-work and pensioner poverty. The summer of 2017 saw the area spiralling out of control: “Rutland Street families ‘scared to leave their homes’ because of drug dealing and anti-social behaviour”. “Grimsby man refuses to stop speaking out after his Rutland Street home is attacked by vandals”. Just two of many newspaper headlines from one East Marsh street. Residents felt frightened and helpless – until we decided to act.
We adopted the ‘broken window’ theory. Signs of disorder – broken windows, boarded-up houses, litter and graffiti – induce more disorder and crime, imply no care for the area and invite chaos, which was what happened. We met to identify how we might mend the ‘broken windows’ and ‘East Marsh United’ (EMU) was born!
Since September, we have held weekly meetings and since October we have met every Saturday morning to clean one East Marsh Street at a time – removing greenery from gutters and walls, sweeping, litter-picking, bagging and disposing of ½ tonne of waste each time.
We’ve made an impact. We are reclaiming ownership of our East Marsh. Recent twitter: “Those closest to the challenge have the greatest insights and the best solutions”; our Chief Inspector’s unprompted response: “Totally agree with this as @EastMarshUnited are proving”.
And now we need funding. We started in the midst of a desperate situation. We now find ourselves with community spirit and a vision of hope. We want to build on this, bring in more ‘East Marshers’, develop and grow our community to make a substantial and sustainable difference. We need help to move towards our larger ideals, supporting a calendar year of projects:
1. Develop EMU, directors and community members, by:
a. Training. Bid-writing/funding, IT, basic project management.
b. Developing a community action plan.
c. Visits to/from other community groups across the UK
2. Reach out to ‘East Marshers’ by:
a. Holding a Summer Fun Day and Consultation Event (July/August); residents can tell us about the future East Marsh, enjoy music, activities, food and drink.
b. Promotional materials – a regular EMU newsletter showcasing the difference in the community because we’ve listened and will listen; inviting more ‘East Marshers’
3. Places and Spaces- transforming our streets through:
a. Clearance and Cleaning – our volunteers will continue cleaning our streets and build on the work carried out. We need PPE, bags, speakers and mp3 player (helps get the children involved!) a jet wash, trolley and secure, weather-proof store.
b. Introducing plants and trees, developing a soft landscaping plan.
We’ve included community feedback in the design and development of the activities via a local event in August this year. Through the activities we will recruit new volunteers and carry out a wider consultation. Carrying out this project will help us develop a stronger community, see what does and doesn’t work and evidence our impact and achievements.
Thanks to the Big Lottery Fund and thanks to everybody who helped us put the bid together and who have given us such wonderful support in our early days!