Monday, 26 March 2012

Weston Community COG - A project that could transform our town centre

A few of us local residents in Weston have set up a Town Team that will make a huge impact right at the heart of our town centre.  With a view to getting the full commitment of Town Centre Partnership and Economic Development Team at NSC, we have created the “Weston Community COG” (Centre of Gravity) that is applying for a government grant, under the Portas Town Team Pilot fund. 

By the end of this week, we aim to apply for a grant that will really make positive changes for the residents and businesses of Weston.  The aims and objectives of COG are outlined below.  We need the support of as many interested parties as possible and we hope you can see the benefits to you personally and to the wider community in general. 

Please read through our proposals and, if you agree with all that we want to achieve, a letter of support from local residents and businesses would undoubtedly go a long way to adding gravitas to our application.  If you have any suggestions about how we could make our vision even stronger, please do let us know.  This is for every member of the local community we really welcome your input.

- to match and balance large scale, big budget, top down regeneration and development schemes with a strong, grassroots culture of independent, innovative and community led projects 
- to create confidence and resilience in the local community
- to re-generate social and economic capital and build social cohesion
- to work with Council, NHS, schools, college, influencing businesses to build lasting partnerships which encourage independent business and social enterprise

- Build a digital hub bringing together local information, independent business marketing, community bulletin boards and discussion forums, allowing conversations and information sharing to happen online, 24-7. The website will be richly augmented by social media - Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube/Vimeo, Delicious social bookmarks etc - giving people multiple ways to interact with the project and each other.
- Build a mobile app to provide location specific information (GPS and QR code) and enable collaborative marketing.
- Work with the Town Centre Partnership to support and facilitate their existing BID aims and objectives which address a number of nuts and bolts issues.
- Hold monthly community led town regeneration meetings and quarterly day long training/jam sessions. (For example: )
- Work with the Council and local businesses to identify training needs and provide courses, mentoring, take- away materials (print and/or download) at little or no cost to independent businesses, community organisations and social enterprise to ensure there's no barrier to access. Pull in existing expertise from Plunkett Foundation, Co-operatives UK, FARMA, ATCP etc.
- Build a Centre Of Gravity - a co-operative community enterprise hub and events/arts space - in a prominent high street position, providing enterprise expertise and a space for happy accidents to occur and provide innovative solutions to the problems we face.

Please also have a look at our ideas on the Geovation Challenge, here and here and vote for us if you’d like to see our idea get noticed.   A strongly supported idea posted on Geovation could bring in anything up to an additional £40K to help run our project so, again, your support would go a long way.

We need to gather all supporting documents by the end of the week, so if you want to add a letter outlining your support of our project by Thursday 29th March, you can send it to us at

We will then share our ideas and a supporting film we are currently working on through dedicated webspace and in the press.  We’ll be sure to let you know when this goes live.