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Friday 9 January 2015

Council gives £25,000 boost to scheme to help revitalise local communities


Cheshire East Council has given a £25,000 boost to a new scheme to develop local community groups across the Borough.

Council Leader Michael Jones presented the grant cheque to Cheshire Catalyst to help set up street associations – that will help make our neighbourhoods a better and happier place to live.

The aim is to launch the project in 25 streets and then roll the scheme out throughout Cheshire East.

The idea is to gather community-minded people from each street – typically about 25-50 homes and around 100 people – to bring inspiration, support and a new sense of fun and belonging to our local communities.

Each street association will be run by a core group of residents. They could organise community events for their street – such as tea dances, children’s parties, quiz nights, day trips or walks in the countryside, for example.

As part of the process, those who live alone or are vulnerable would be contacted and neighbours encouraged to visit and provide help and support. Tools and equipment could also be shared among neighbours.

Councillor Jones, who presented the grant under the Council’s budget surplus ‘giveback’ scheme, said: “Loneliness and isolation are two of the major scourges of life in 21st century Britain for a whole host of reasons and they present a significant challenge for Cheshire East. 

“I am delighted that we are supporting this initiative and leading the way in embracing street associations across the Borough and look forward to seeing the difference that these will make for our residents.”

Street associations began in Birmingham and are now spreading. Founders Martin and Gina Graham are excited at the prospect of working with Cheshire Catalyst to establish street associations in Cheshire East. 

The Grahams said: “We have seen amazing transformation in the communities we have worked with in Birmingham and are currently initiating street associations in a town in the south of England.

“However, this is the first time we have seen a whole Borough take the initiative on board. We commend this vision and are very much looking forward to working with Cheshire Catalyst to see it fulfilled.”

Pastor David Edwards, of New Testament Church of God, in Crewe, said: “Street associations are a great catalyst for bringing hope and the opportunity to revive the community spirit amongst households in our neighbourhood.”

Graham Warner, of Cheshire Catalyst, said: “Street associations offer a great way to build deeper relationships within our communities and I am looking forward to getting started.” 

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