Our work in the Westwood area, coupled with funding from the Big Local Lottery fund and the passion and commitment of local residents has transformed this neighbourhood into a vibrant and exciting place to live.
The resident-led WestRaven Big Local project has successfully established a volunteer-run Café delivers hundreds of low-cost nutritious meals a week. The Community Fridge distributes fresh surplus supermarket food to the community – available daily, for free! The training kitchen at the Café offers cookery courses that help people to prepare healthy food at home, while regular Community Eats events are fighting social isolation.
A music studio provides a space for young people to write and record their own music, and, rapper Skilly Skillz has been on hand over the summer to offer advice.
The community garden is constantly evolving and has become a great place for volunteering and educational activities. Environmental charity Frog Life have created a nature pond, while, BGL Insurance planted fruit trees. Now hosting barbeques, planting days and even an open air cinema, it is a buzzing hub, getting people out in the fresh air and teaching children where their food comes from.
But we are doing more than just supporting the residents with their project. We have also sourced funding from WREN and Sport England to renovate basketball courts and provide sports activities, including chair yoga, walking football and street dance for youngsters, helping to get the community fit and healthy.
CKH is also building with a determination to solve the housing crisis, and is innovating in order to access more land and opportunities. At Westwood, CKH has improved car parking for the shops, which freed up underused land to make space for 16 new homes; four offering an affordable route to home ownership through shared ownership and 12 for affordable rent, set below the Council’s LHA.
The physical work on improving the area has gone much further. As part of the funding for the development, and thanks to the excellent partnership with local developer Burmour Construction, CKH has completely regenerated the shopping centre – remodelling the shop fronts, increasing security to reduce ASB and repaving the whole area. The physical appearance of this public space now reflects the pride that residents are feeling, and their optimism for the future.
Cath Robertson, Chair of the WestRaven Big Local Partnership Board, sums up the project: “This project is just amazing. To be able to see the difference in the area unfolding is a real thrill and when I see the young people learning garden skills from our older residents or a group of mums and toddlers enjoying tea, cake and a chat in the café I know that we are achieving great things. The project is bringing the community together in ways we only dreamt about before and we’re giving residents a pride in their neighbourhood and a sense of community spirit that will last way into the future.”