Some of our Past Projects
Bierley Neighbourhood Forum
In 2019, the Neighbourhood Project delivered a programme of training and coaching in the urban neighbourhood of Bierley, south Bradford. Considered high on the Index of Deprivation, Bierley had fewer than average local community groups and volunteers including no umbrella body such as a residents’ association.
In response to the training sessions, a group of attendees decided to set up the Bierley Neighbourhood Forum as a body to speak on behalf of the area and start to develop new activities in response to identified needs. So far, these have included a community clean-up day with more planned; working with other residents to oppose housing developments on what remains of the local green belt; nominating several local amenities such as green land, a local pub and the post office as ‘assets of community value’ to further protect them from being lost; and they have ambitions to become a neighbourhood planning group which would give them a greater say over town planning affecting the area.
The group aims to give Bierley a stronger voice and to take an interest in the regeneration of the neighbourhood.
Grow Bradford Website
In 2013, the Neighbourhood Project delivered a programme of training and coaching in and around Bradford City Centre.
In response to a session on how to set up hyperlocal websites, some attendees asked for support in developing a site focusing on local food growing in the Bradford area. The Neighbourhood Project offered coaching to support the participants and funding to pay for them to receive training on using WordPress. This resulted in the creation of the Grow Bradford website – see http://www.growbradford.org.uk/
The group provides an online resource which has mapped out as many local food growing organisations and initiatives as they can. They aim to promote an increase in local food growing levels which is essential if Bradford is to become a sustainable city, and to enable collaboration between those already involved in this work.
Bierley Digital Inclusion Service
Another spin-off activity from our 2019 programme in Bierley was the Digital Inclusion Service.
In response to a session on community-run public services and a discussion concerning how services are increasingly going online, a group of attendees identified a need with mostly older adults who lacked basic computer skills and confidence in using the internet. There was concern they would be left behind, unable to access services without help from others.
With coaching support from the Neighbourhood Project and funding to pay for some tablet PCs and a portable wi-fi device, a volunteer-run service was trialled in Bierley. It included group drop-in sessions on a weekly basis and one-to-one support in people’s homes. It was tailored entirely to each beneficiary’s needs, exploring how they could use computers and the internet to further their interests. Many people were taught how they could keep in touch with family, track down old friends, research the history of where they grew up, order shopping for home delivery and access savings through comparison websites.
The service has since finished its pilot stage and has been deemed a success. Further funding has been sought to continue and expand this work.
Shearbridge Community Garden
This was another spin-off activity from our 2013 programme in central Bradford.
Shearbridge is a small urban neighbourhood above the University of Bradford campus. It is high on the Index of Deprivation with high levels of unemployment and crime and low levels of education attainment and income. Members of the Shearbridge Residents’ Association attended one of our training sessions on community asset transfers. They were interested in taking this forward concerning a piece of derelict land in their neighbourhood which was otherwise going to be sold off by the local authority for housing development.
With coaching support from the Neighbourhood Project, the Residents’ Association prepared a proposal for the land to be retained for community benefit and this was accepted by the local authority. Following this, a design for the land to be turned into a community garden was developed and again this was signed off by the authority. This is now being taken forward by the Residents’ Association.