Promoting sustainable travel: pupils at Silkmore Primary line up for their Bikeability session
"I wanted to help make a difference;" "I enjoy encouraging others to see what the community can offer". These are just two of the comments made by Community Champions taking part in the Penkside Project, covering the Silkmore and Rickerscote areas of Stafford. The project aims to improve many aspects of life in the area, and involves multiple agencies, including Stafford Borough Council, Staffordshire County Council, and Stafford and Rural Homes. It has also received funding from West Midlands Learning To Deliver.
Making a difference
Since the project started in early 2011, the enthusiasm of all participants, led by Community Development Worker Dawn Robertson, has made a real difference. Early successes included a Penkside Picnic in April, a Royal Wedding Picnic in May, and a Community Games event in August. As part of the environmental strand, Stafford Borough Council has been working with Beat the Cold, Sustainability Matters and other agencies to improve the energy efficiency of homes and community buildings in Penkside, and to encourage more people to consider sustainable forms of transport, notably cycling. In just its first year the project has gained a prestigious national accolade, a Gold Award in the Green Apple Awards.
However, it is undoubtedly the Community Champions and other members of the local community who are crucial to achieving the project's ambitions in the long term. These ambitions include promoting the health and well-being of residents, making improvements to the environment by education and assistance for local residents; working to deal with the impact and perception of crime in the area, and improving opportunities for employment. The Penkside Community Champions even have their own website, which gives latest news of the project.
Click here to read more about the sustainable travel and energy workshops in schools, new cycle parking, and home energy visits in the Penkside area.