Sunday, 29 July 2012

Hamp Fun Day Success

Cllr Austen +Jon White HCA Secretary
Mayor of Bridgwater Graham Granter at Hamp Fun Day
This years Hamp Fun Day was another great success. Organised by Ben Harvey and the Hamp Community Association it featured a well attended football tournament on Mansfield Park  , was attended by the Mayor of Bridgwater Cllr Graham Granter and included many community stalls and sideshows.

Ben Harvey (HCA Chairman) + Cllr Steve Austen

Tuesday, 20 July 2010


There has been much interest recently about the SRB . This was a period of increased funding for the Hamp estate which ended in 2007. Since then the projects and facilities achieved have struggled to continue alone and the Hamp Community Association has the responsibility of managing them. There are numerous potential projects on the estate currently in need of funding and the HCA is looking for a way forward to unite these campaigners under one umberella so that Hamp can speak with one voice. One idea which the Board of HCA is considering is that of a Community Interest Company. However, before they can consider this, the period of SRB is under investigation. The Board has called in the South West Auditors and a full report on the facts will be carried out.

So that people fully understand what the SRB actually was we have summarised the end of term Project Evaluation Report below.

What is the SRB ?

The SRB (Single Regeneration Budget) is a way of attracting major investment into deprived areas. This was first achieved on Bridgwaters Sydenham estate in the early 1990s. On Hamp we set up the Hamp Community Association (HCA) in 1996 to attract the next available funding to our estate.
The HCA set about bringing together the community with a Partnership of professional groups that were active on the estate with a view to jointly addressing the key problems and attracting the funds to achieve them. The first Chair was Frank Drake (from the Holy Trinity Church) and the first secretary Cllr Brian Smedley (Hamp Labour) .
By 2000 the case had been made and money awarded under the SRB scheme.

Originally due to operate over a 6 year period from August 2000 to March 2006, the Programme was extended in 2005 by a year, to 31st March 2007, to enable the completion of key investments and development of a forward strategy.


The Final Report for the End of Scheme Evaluation of the Hamp Single Regeneration Budget (SRB) Round 6 Programme in Bridgwater, Somerset. (undertaken by EKOS between March and September 2007, overseen by the Hamp SRB Management and Administration Group. ) is available on the web and although it points to some criticisms it is broadly supportive . It's key points are summarised below.

The area was selected for an SRB6 bid on the basis of the high levels of deprivation on the Hamp estate and the long standing desire of both residents, the Hamp Community Association (HCA) and the other agencies represented in the Hamp SRB6 Partnership to achieve major improvements in quality of life.

The overall aim of the Programme was to:

“Raise the self-esteem of the community and promote ownership of the Hamp neighbourhood by improving employment and recreational opportunities, supporting self help initiatives by the community, improving educational achievement and health, and reducing poverty and crime”.

The five strategic objectives• SO1- Improving the employment prospects, education and skills of local people;
• SO2 - Addressing social exclusion and improving opportunities for the disadvantaged;
• So3 - Promoting sustainable regeneration, improving and protecting the environment and infrastructure, including housing;
• SO4 - Supporting and promoting growth in local economies and businesses; and
• SO5 - Reducing crime and drug abuse and improving community safety.

A clear focus was evident on enhancing the uptake of employment and other opportunities for local people in addition to improving quality of life for all. In an area where there was no case for significant physical change, these objectives were generally valid and appropriate.

The SRB allocation of £1.68m was fully spent by the end of the Programme period, albeit a one year extension was required to enable resources to be fully deployed. performed well in financial terms, with monies spent largely in line with the objectives

The SRB Programme has successfully delivered two high profile capital projectsReCreation and 1 Edinburgh Road

As well as the main SWRDA outputs, the Programme has also delivered a number of other activities and outcomes, including:
• 194 pupils benefiting from support to enhance or improve their attainment;
• 815 people gaining access to ICT;
• 285 individuals involved in voluntary work;

More than 2,000 people gaining access to new cultural opportunities or facilities; and
• 1,400 young people benefiting from projects to boost their self esteem.

Overall, the mix of achievements is substantial and provides a platform for the future regeneration of the estate.

The bottom up characteristic of the SRB6 programme has also been a key feature, with significant HCA involvement in a number of schemes and extensive resident consultation and engagement in the vast majority of projects. There is a very strong relationship between the needs and priorities of residents and the package of activity that has been supported.
There are a number of examples of good practice evident from the Programme, including:
• The development of 1 Edinburgh Road as a multi purpose community facility;

• The consultation and development process on ReCreation which enabled a successful centre to be achieved.

The Furniture Store which combines a social and training enterprise with a valued service for local residents.

The HCA have played a leading role in the delivery of the Programme. .

At the beginning of the Programme, the full Partnership comprised 21 representatives, which by 2003/4 had expanded to 33 organisations.

The key socio-economic indicators suggest that Hamp has changed for the better in many ways over the programme period, although it remains relatively disadvantaged. Some of the positive trends include:
• A reduction in the number of Job Seekers Allowance claimants;
• Fewer families eligible for free school meals;
• An overall reduction in crime rates, albeit crime and anti-social behaviour remain high; and
• An improvement in the estate’s ranking on the Index of Multiple Deprivation.

The changes in the key indicators are echoed in the views of residents we consulted as part of the evaluation – more than 80% of our sample agreed or strongly agreed that the estate has a more positive image and quality of life has improved. A total of 75% of residents feel safer in their homes and on the streets of Hamp.
The programme has contributed to reversing a long term period of decline, although, given its size, its direct impact was always going to be limited. The challenge now is how the positive momentum is built upon to further the estate’s regeneration.

The Hamp SRB Programme has been a success overall. The two key projects desired by residents have been successfully delivered and the long term decline of the estate has been reversed.

The Hamp Community Association was formed in 1996 to represent all residents. It undertook a major consultation exercise ‘Hamp on Hamp’ in which a total of 1,029 residents took part. This consultation formed the basis of the SRB bid and helped the programme target activity towards community needs.

The Hamp SRB scheme was awarded £1,688,842 of SRB resources, 100% of which has now been spent and accounted for.

1 Edinburgh RdThe property at 1 Edinburgh Rd was purchased at the beginning of the SRB Programme as a temporary operating base for the SRB team. The original intention was that when a community resource centre was established it would be resold and money used for other projects. The building was purchased and made fit for purpose at a cost of £80,586.
In 2002, a project was approved to provide information and advice at 1 Edinburgh Rd. Total project costs of £74,096 paid for:

• a paid part time manager to run the centre and provide some admin support to HCA and SRB,
• an operating base for HCA;
• a base for organisations such as Citizen’s advice, JobCentre plus, Bridgwater Credit Union to operate from (see below);
• a venue for working together to further projects in Hamp; and
• allow access to ICT, provide training and volunteering opportunities.

2 ReCreation – A New Kind of Youth Buidling
The development of ReCreation was identified from the outset as a crucial element in the regeneration of Hamp. Consultation showed this was high on the community agenda. The picture to the left shows the old building which had fallen into disrepair and had to be demolished. 25% of the population are under 16 compared with 20% regionally13. Lack of facilities for young people was leading to anti-social behaviour and crime. The community was in talks with the SWRDA about funding the development of a youth centre through non SRB funds, but when this did not develop, it became a high priority for SRB funding.
The solution was to build a £641,501 new youth centre, funded with £403,33914 from SRB plus an additional £47,245 of revenue support. The project received some revenue support from the SRB, but it has since obtained money from Children in Need and the Safer Sedgemoor Partnership. In addition, it raises some funds through sale of goods in the cafĂ©, other paid trips and room hire and functions. Funding has been secured for the next three years, but there is an ongoing need to ensure future funding is in place.

The key issues for the project going forward are:
• Obtaining funding to continue activities;
• Obtaining funding for additional activities – additional opening hours, more trips etc;
• Extending the work to support parenting skills;
• Extending the work to support older children and teenagers; and
• Capacity of the community to manage the operation.

Overall, the building is a tremendous asset to the estate, especially in the absence of a community centre. Other community groups do use the building during the day and after the youth club session in the evening. Currently, this additional use is limited. It will be important for the centre to expand its use to other groups to provide an additional source of revenue and ensure the community achieves the maximum benefit from the SRB expenditure.

Partnership Structures and Functioning

The original structure comprised a partnership body (with responsibility for the strategic direction of the programme, review of strategy, overall monitoring of performance and policy decisions. This was supported by a steering group elected from the partnership which had delegated authority for day-to-day decision making and monitoring. Six sub-groups were set up to develop activity at theme and project level. Two further groups were set up to deal with the appraisal of projects and arrangements for setting up a charitable trust in 2004, changes to the sub-group structure were agreed by the partnership as follows:
• A management and administration sub-group was formed to formalise an informal arrangement where the chair, vice chair, representative of the accountable body and programme manager met;
• The housing sub-group was disbanded due to lack of activity; and
• The social inclusion group took on the appraisal of projects under £25,000 and regular monitoring of projects and report to the steering group.

ProjectsProject Subgroups:
• Education, Training and Employment Sub-group (SO1, SO4)
• Social Inclusion Sub-Group (SO2)
• Environment Sub-group (SO3)
• Housing Sub-Groups (SO3)
• Crime and Disorder Reduction sub-group (SO5)
• Buildings sub-group (SO1, SO2, SO4)
Full Partnership
Steering group
Charitable Trust Sub-Group
Appraisal Sub-Group
Community Involvement and the Hamp Community Association

At the outset of the SRB Programme, the HCA was already in place undertaking a range of activities across the estate. As the main umbrella organisation for residents on the estate, it was appropriate and sensible that the HCA should play a leading role in the SRB partnership.

Overall, the involvement of the staff and volunteers at 1 Edinburgh Rd and other residents in the delivery of projects has been a very positive feature of the Programme.

The Report points out that "Elected members have also played a very positive role as champions for the Programme and the estate in a variety of arenas. "
Councillors representing Hamp over the years have included;

Bridgwater Town;- John Turner, Kathy Pearce, Julie Raven, Pat Parker

Sedgemoor District;-John Turner,Kathy Pearce, Brian Smedley

Somerset County;- Dean Lampard, Pat Parker, Steve Gill

Sedgemoor District Council took on the role of accountable body, with the intention that it should eventually pass from the District Council to a new charitable trust set up by the partnership, once the partnership had gained sufficient confidence and experience to undertake the role.

Whilst considerable efforts were put into developing the charitable trust, it was slow to get off the ground and lacked capacity to deliver. Therefore in 2004, with advice from the SWRDA, Sedgemoor District Council agreed to remain the accountable body for the remainder of the scheme. Whilst this was an appropriate decision in order to ensure that SRB funds could be administered appropriately, it has had a significant impact on the proposed exit strategy which relied on there being a charitable trust in place to take over assets and continue regeneration activity in Hamp

The programme manager was employed by Sedgemoor District Council as the accountable body. However, the line management responsibility lay with the Chairman of the partnership for programme delivery matters and through a nominated officer of the council for administrative, system and personnel issues. This caused considerable confusion and the lack of clarity caused unnecessary difficulties in the running of the Programme. This ended in mediation between the SRB staff, the chair of the Hamp Community Association (and Partnership) and the Sedgemoor DC team.

Overall, the consensus amongst stakeholders was that the Sedgemoor DC regeneration team had generally managed the Programme well, with considerable efforts made by a number of key individuals.

As is often the case in small regeneration programmes, a small group of highly committed individuals, primarily from SDC and the HCA, were responsible for managing and delivering the bulk of the programme. Without their sustained efforts, much less would have been achieved. On the other hand, there was perhaps too much reliance on a small number of representatives to take forward the regeneration of the estate.


Canal Access Improvements
Gloucester Road
Gloucester Road phase 2
Gloucester Road phase 2
Mansfield Park
Quantock View Lighting
The Green Cockadoodle Doo
Wolmer Close
1 Edinburgh Road
1 Edinburgh Road Information & Advice
Community Centre
Extension to 1 Edinburgh Road
Furniture Store
Hamp Minibus
Neighbourhood Nursery
Hamp Web Initiative
Hamp Wireless
ICT Champ
Junior ICT
Breakfast Club
Hamp Youth Project
Re Creation - building
Re Creation Kitchen improvements
Re Creation Landscape Project
Re Creation revenue support
Re Creation Youth Centre
Summer Challenge
Police Bicycle
Safe as Houses
Activity Leaders
Admin & Grants officer
Community Capacity Build
Community Chest
Community Development Worker
Community Panto

Monday, 15 March 2010


At tonights Hamp Community Association meeting new faces and a new spirit of determination to reboot the organisation was evident as members came up with a formula for regeneration.

The HCA suffered a disastrous loss with the untimely death of much loved and hard working project manager Lynne Macriner Manley from which they have been struggling to recover. At a time when funding cuts from the new Tory controlled County Council were being imposed and Sedgemoor District Council were contracting their budget the HCA has found it difficult to make ends meet and run it's two buildings at Edinburgh road and Recreation. Chairman Pat Parker has been fighting to keep the Organisation and it's staff together whilst Treasurer Chris Done was working hard to oversee the finances and the volunteers.

At tonights meeting a corner was clearly turned as key new members were brought into the centre of the Organisation to revitalise the HCA. Steve Austen - a Meads Court resident who has been the Chairman of the thriving YMCA in recent years, was elected as Vice Chair of the HCA whilst Cllr Brian Smedley, Hamp Ward councillor and original secretary of the HCA when it was founded, has been brought in as secretary. Cllr Kathy Pearce - Hamp councillor and Labour Parliamentary candidate, has also been co-opted onto the committee and a series of meetings have been set up to kick start the Timetable for recruitment of a new project manager.

Brian Smedley said after the meeting "It's important that we engage with the entire Hamp Community in this process and the next step after we get a Manager is to relaunch the 'Open meetings' that were the key to building the HCA in the first place. That means getting the Partnership agencies together again on Hamp - Police, councils, youth service etc alongside the people with the ideas and the inspiration - the Mansfield Park Action group, the Building Schools for the Future project ,and the community football teams such as Rhode Lane Wanderers and make sure the funding agencies know that we need priority funding and we have the plans to spend it and the dedicated people to spend it on what is really needed."

The Open meeting has been scheduled for Thursday 13th May.

The picture sh
ows Cllr Smedley discussing a United way forward with Cllr Parker and Cllr Gill.

Sunday, 28 February 2010


Sedgemoor District Council are re-looking at their spending priorities in relation to Hamp following a meeting convened to focus on community demands for the much neglected Mansfield Park.

Park Campaigner Ben Harvey ( pictured presenting a cheque for Re-creation to Cllr Pat Parker Chair of the HCA) who attended the meeting said he had been consulting in the schools and around the Estate and the most common demand was for Childrens play facilities.

At an earlier meeting in the Black Horse, Labour councillors present urged campaigners to work in conjunction with the Hamp Community Association to make sure the whole community was working together and this was agreed

Following on from this meeting a further meeting at Edinburgh road ,drawing together Park campaigners with Play Rangers, HCA committe members, Councillors and SDC parks and leisure officers was held to focus on the Community demands.

The Play Rangers present spoke of immediate action to get some provision on the park such as climbing in the form of a large dead tree - which was a popular option elsewhere or a play equipment pod -which would require a key holder. Ben Harvey said he was planning a Mansfield Park 'FunDay' event on Saturday 8th May which could be used as a focus for community consultation. He was also organising local people in fund raising events.

Cllr Kathy Pearce said "It was apparent that there were other key issues pertaining to the park - the state of the changing rooms, the future requirements for football on the park and addressing the concerns of the residents regarding potential nuisance. However, Mansfield Park is in the heart of the community and was donated to the people of Hamp to enjoy. We are working hard with members of the community to combat anti-social behaviour problems and to improve the facilities on the park."

Sedgemoor Parks officer Harley Cook said "We need to first undertake an official consultation and then I can put the proposals to my new line manager". Sedgemoor has undergone a major reshuffle recently and former officer Nicola Slawski is moving aside for Teresa Harvey-who recently oversaw the demolition of the Splash.

Cllr Brian Smedley (SDC Shadow Portfolio for Health & Well Being) said "At the meeting we made it clear to Sedgemoor officers that Mansfield park was the only park left in Sedgemoor that had not had money spent on it and this was long overdue. There were people in the Community with some positive ideas and clearly a proven need for immediate attention. The ball is now in the court of SDC to tell us what funds they're prepared to devote to Hamp and then we can work out how to spend it. The way to do this is with a Genuine Community Consultation so we're all on board and the Hamp Community Association is key to this and will be considering it as soon as SDC gives us the go ahead."

Brian Smedley is in the process of compiling a Hamp Community Audit to present to Sedgemoor and to the Agencies active on Hamp to demonstrate areas of need and how they can be addressed. It will be presented to a HCA meeting in April for an Action Plan.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010


Hamp Labour Councillors Kathy Pearce and Brian Smedley, who have been a central part of the 'Save the Splash campaign' , made a last minute intervention at the County Planning committee last week in an attempt to keep swimming provision in Bridgwater town centre but their bid was scuppered by an unholy alliance of Tory and LibDem County Councillors and the inactivity of Bridgwaters most recent lib dem convert Cllr Gill (who not only abstained from the vote but left the meeting so he couldn't take part in the debate).

Kathy said "Sedgemoors swimming policy is in tatters and they are now spending £6.3m on a new pool, when even they said it would have cost £4m to refurbish Splash . I think they got hung up on the fact that the revenue costs for the Splash were 700,000 (even though 300,000 of those were on-costs). My theory is that they were so obsessed with selling Northgate - they acted in haste and backed the 'wrong horse' with the BSF, with the expectation that the 3 bidders for Northgate would remain. Bit by bit it all began to fall apart and the scenario predicted by the Labour Group has happened. Public pressure has forced them not to abandon the idea of swimming in Bridgwater altogether -which was the original policy put forward by Chief Executive Kerry Rickards and management team-but at far greater cost than it would have been had they stuck with the Splash (especially if they had modified it to make it more cost efficient as we had suggested) and with a 2-3 year gap with no swimming in the town. They are now putting a positive spin on it all."

Brian said "The Labour controlled Town Council passed a motion condemning Tory Sedgemoor for tearing down the Splash and criticising the Chilton location as out of town and calling for
town centre swimming . A rejection of the Chilton site for swimming at the same time they still have the Splash site could have derailed their plans and made them relook at the town centre location. Myself and Kathy supported the Bridgwater Forward groups protest at the County meeting and attempted to get the councillors to reject the swimming element of the planning application. Sadly the Lib Dem councillors this time round totally fell in line behind the Tories and even our new LibDem/ex-Tory county councillor Steve Gill allowed himself to be convinced that he had to leave the meeting and not take part in it...despite Tory councillors such as Derek Alder (who had already voted on SDC to close the Splash) choosing to stay and vote . It;s yet another Tory blow against Bridgwater and yet more LibDem hot air. They're all promise and no action!"

Monday, 8 February 2010


Without doubt the saddest loss of 2009 was the death of Hamp Community Associations Lynne Macriner-Manley who had worked so hard for the people of Hamp from her days as Family Centre manager to her final role as Manager of the Information and Advice centre where she was the leading light in preparing funding bids and community initiatives for the HCA.

Hamp District Councillor Brian Smedley says "2010 will be the year we need to find a new person to take on these important roles and at the same time we need to revitalise the Hamp Community Association to make sure its inclusive and reflects the current needs on the estate. I have launched a Hamp Community Audit which will be presented at a Hamp Public Forum meeting to be held at Re-Creation once complete. The aim is to see what we have, what we need and how we achieve it. There are lots of of people that are active on the estate now whether it be the Hamp Action Group-campaigning for long overdue facilities for Mansfield park, or Rhode Lsne Wanderers -who clearly need a home on Hamp or the BSF initiative which will see millions spent on school and community projects on the estate -we need to get everyone on board now!"

To contact Brian with ideas for the Hamp Community Audit write to

Saturday, 6 February 2010


This is General Election year and Bridgwater Labour Party has selected Hamp ward Councillor Kathy Pearce as their candidate to take on Ian Liddle Grainger. Hamp is a good example of a Labour area represented by Labour members who have worked for their area over many years to achieve a better community in the face of serious and targetted Tory attacks. It's the people of Hamp we need now to help us lead the attack on the Conservative domination of our lives here in Bridgwater.
We need look no further than the closure of the Sedgemoor Splash to see their total disregard for the people of the town and their needs.