This week’s Council of the Week has been selected in recognition of its innovation and hard work on a number of projects, but particularly for the development of an impressive new community hub in 2014.
Selsey Town Council is a coastal town out on a limb, 10 miles south of Chichester in West Sussex. It has 9,000 electors and a precept of £265,000. The Town Clerk Gill Jennings is a visionary and has developed the structure to one that has a high degree of self-sufficiency supporting the community.
The award winning SelseyWorks project is a fine example of this. A community hub in the centre of town, SelseyWorks provides space for a whole host of organisations and activities that benefit local people. It has been developed as an all-encompassing project – one that creates opportunities for the community to help themselves and to stand up to the challenges that they face, as a seasonal town supported by tourism and horticulture.
The project was launched at the beginning of 2014 and Sam Tate, who was appointed shortly after as Town Co-ordinator, raised an impressive £100,000 of grant funding to complete it. The grants comprise £50,000 from the Department for Work and Pensions, £25,000 from the West Sussex County Council Kick Start Fund, £10,000 from Big Lottery’s Awards for All scheme and a New Homes Bonus grant of £15,000.
SelseyWorks offers a range of services, courses and opportunities for business owners, start-ups, those in work, those searching for work and those needing advice and support. A number of partner organisations and agencies have committed to using the space - Chichester District Council (Housing, Benefits & Economic Development), West Sussex County Council (Health & Well-being, Youth Services, Business Development), Royal British Legion Industries (local Work Programme provider), Job Centre Plus, Chichester College, Women's Wisdom, Affinity Sutton, Homegroup, Phoenix 4 Training.
Also within the premises are regularly changing pop-up shops, hot desks to rent, a local jobs board, job centre services, personal development courses, business skills support, retails skills courses, housing support and advice, benefit advisors, financial advice, health and wellbeing activities and craft workshops.
It is an impressive hub providing an alternative venue for a broad range of support services. NALC is particularly encouraged to learn one year on, that this innovative approach has had such a positive impact – with the end of year report stating:
‘By putting public services into a facility that has an open, non-judgemental feel we can better engage with those residents that are vulnerable, in need or who do not currently engage with public services. It offers the opportunity to identify and sign post people to support at an earlier stage before or during crisis, avoiding more costly service intervention.’
We are impressed by Selsey Town Council’s execution of this project, which is a fantastic testament of its ambition, tenacity and the strength of its partnership working.
In addition to this, the council has been working on a number of other key projects, including:
A Neighbourhood Plan – which they are about to submit to the Local Authority
A new Cinema Club in the Town Hall – they have been successful in an application to get equipment and further funding to run a festival of films, a youth film club and a lunchtime club for people with dementia
A new four-week Festival in August to include approximately 80 events in the arts, drama, youth activities, coffee mornings, fayres and a carnival
A Walking and Outdoor Festival is in the pipeline
Becoming a member of the Selsey Business Partnership supporting events in the town
A new Economic Development Strategy, providing insight and analysis for High Street retailers
Supporting a project to build an Observatory in memory of Sir Patrick Moore
Providing a new concrete skate park and encouraging the users to set up their own club to help monitor and enhance the facilities