The Friends group are delighted to announce that our application to the Skipton Building Society 'Grassroots Giving' fund has been successful. We also won this competition back in 2014, but this year we were one of only 5 winners in the West Midlands. For details of Grassroots Giving Winners and more about the scheme please see the *link below.
We are very grateful to everyone who voted for us making this yet another success in a long line of funding bids supporting Let's Eat the Park and making it a viable ongoing community project.
Obviously these things don't happen on their own and a lot of backroom work involving a small group of dedicated volunteers goes into keeping FoSGP projects going forward. LEAP work parties and our various annual events are the result of our dedicated belief in the aims of the project and the way members of the local community, from a wide range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, harvest the produce and supplement their family diets. If only the LEAP team themselves and the group of local volunteers ate the produce it would have been sucessful, but LEAP's focus on the thing that unites us all - food - is a simple message that is well understood by local people and by funders. I am therefore very pleased to report that of the funding bids I've made for LEAP during the past 3 years all have succeeded- LEAP has a 100% bidding record.
I view the LEAP project as one that bids for financial support and turns it into something useful, healthy and colourful in the park - a win-win situation as more and more produce supplements local diets and the urban orchard of fruit trees in St George's Park reaches maturity.
There is an old saying "you can't eat money" which is of course true but what we have done is taken financial capital and converted it into other forms of wealth of the sort sometimes called social capital or cultural capital. The funds allow the LEAP team to concieve of a project and complete it without needing to bid for every project we undertake for comparatively minor sums. LEAP cushion funding keeps the project very much autonomous and resident led and without any need of additional patronage.
The fact that all FoSGP events are FREE means that funds are converted from figures in a bank book to food on the table - the alchemy of making money usefully edible and turning pounds into pumpkins.
From the beginning LEAP has been received enthusiastically by just about everyone we've told about it, which has been a lot of people due to the various public engagement events LEAP volunteers have undertaken and where a lot of public interest has been shown.
The idea has been popular for its simplicy and its usefulness and it was conceived off the cuff as a funding bid deadline loomed, this is a well known situation for me as treasurer because FoSGP also raises funds for other events and activities in the park and at other venues, like the Youth House base of our partners - Kidderminster and District Youth Trust who very kindly provide us with accommodation and other forms of support.
There is also a permissive and cordial realtionship with our primary partner Wyre Forest District Council and especially Parks Department managers who attend our meetings, supply us with various materials and show enduring support and goodwill toward all of our projects.
LEAP is a model volunteer-led example of co-production, the way of working together between equal partners the government says all local authorities must address themselves to.
LEAP in the Wyre Forest and indeed in all of Worcestershire is leading the way on these important initiatives from a grassroots perspective, thereby ticking a lot of policymakers boxes for them along the previously uncharted way.
So once again, if you voted for us a very big thank you from me and from us all at FoSGP.
You have helped to maintain the foundation for sustainable improvement of green spaces like St George's Park and other LEAP sites around the Greenhill and Horsefair areas of Kidderminster.
We are particularly proud to be associated with the Skipton Building Society, a mutual society whose founding co-operating principles share a common purpose with LEAP, a community led initiative that has evolved by the hard work and dedication of all those involved. A mutual organisation is owned and run for the benefit of its members and unlike a bank or other financial institution, has no external shareholders to pay in the form of dividends and does not seek to make large profits or capital growth. Mutuals exist for their members who benefit from the services they provide. LEAP is a mutual in which the entire community and even visitors to the area are members, walking through a park gate confers instant membership in the little bit of town centre green space where no money is required (except when merchants and other local groups raise funds at one of our community free festivals).
Grassroots Giving funds are to celebrate the 163 years this year since the foundation of the Skipton Building Society and comprise of 163 pots of £500 - allocated nationwide, for which there were 750 applications this year. For a second time LEAP has demonstrated its wide pool of wellwishers and voters some well beyond our geographical boundaries, who have helped facilitate and reinforce our ongoing sustainability in the future.
Rob Brown - Treasurer FoSGP
Thanks Again For All of Your Support for Let's Eat the Park!