Small Sparks

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An outline of another great social innovation - pioneered in the UK by the late great Carl Poll

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  • Curious to be talking about tiny amounts of money within the context of £15bn of social care spending. Talking about allocations of only £250. Important enough for in Control to include as essential part of the RAS. For 2 reasons: It offers some hope for those that don’t meet eligibility criteria – people who don’t quite meet your FACS criteria, but you know are not going to fair well without any support at all – people who for want of a little support, become isolated, get into difficulties with their mental health, lose what independence they have, eventually become eligible because their situation has deteriorated so much – perhaps get into difficulty with petty crime, alcohol, drugs, prostitution. It enables us to do more than just talk about prevention. It’s a programme of real action – something concrete, not just talk. 2. Important not just for those people, but for everyone who wants to have a real life in their community. Services haven’t done that well in supporting people to be connected to their neighbourhoods. Small Sparks offers an easy plan of action – something that will enable people with disabilities to make a contribution to their community, with the real possibility of making relationships. 2
  • Advertise the programme. Flyer? Personal persuasion? Information session? Get people to apply on a simple form. Meet with them to discuss their idea. Give them the money – they sign a receipt and a pledge to use it for a Small Sparks project (you may want to discuss where they are going to keep this, or who is going to help them look after it). Someone must take photos of what they do – who will that be? If not the person or someone involved with the project – it may be you. Organise a celebration event – this could be all the Small Sparks projects together or a celebration of one project in the locality where the project takes place. Someone must write a story of what happened – who will that be? If not the person or someone involved with the project – it may be you.
  • Liz – Swap shop – used the money for clothes rail and posters. Burnstock – 200 people – to see pld perform – lots said they’d never been to anything like this before or met pld at all. Dramarama. Bands. Organised by people with and without disabilities. Godfather – local film festival Playday – suggested a celebration of local toy library to celebrate 30 years of the toy library – music bus, arts and crafts etc. Another event in Septemenber. Easy Steps to banking – lots of people having difficulty in opening accounts – people in Crawley organised events with bank. Rustington – pld worked with two local firms to clear local land and turn into accessible community garden. Hilary – love of crafts – drop in craft sessions with pld – now local school is sending a number of older pupils.
  • The people who use Westmorland Road got an allotment plot. As this was a new venture we thought it would be a good idea to make links with the other allotment users to share knowledge, ideas & experience in helping us to make our allotment a success. We decided to invite the other allotment holders to an informal meeting where we would have a buffet & refreshments available. As it was summer we used the Small Sparks money to buy a small BBQ, some garden furniture and a gazebo for the event and for everyone to use later on. We also paid for the food and drinks for the day. We are now making our allotment more accessible with money from other grants. This will include some indoor workspace – out of the cold and rain - and also some wider paved paths and smaller beds so all areas can be easily reached. This allotment can then be used by anyone in the local community who maybe can’t manage the work of a full allotment.
  • A good day was had by everybody at Kirkleatham, when volunteers came along to assist in a project to bring the local community together. We spent the day digging out bushes, cutting hedges, weeding and generally tidying the garden area that had become overgrown recently. Thanks to a donation from the Small Sparks Project we were able to buy some tools and provide refreshments to everybody that took part on the day. Earthbeat celebrates a fantastic year On May 20th the Earthbeat Theatre Company held a celebration evening at the Marton Hotel and Country Club. The evening was designed to both celebrate Earthbeat's achievements over the previous year and bring together as many people as possible for an enjoyable evening of music, dance and togetherness. It was an evening of fun and excitement for Earthbeat, in which the performers took to the floor to thrill the audience with acts from previous shows including 'Islands In The Sun' and 'Winter Wonderland'. The performers also gave a taste from their forthcoming shows ‘Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’ and our as-yet-untitled 'Country and Western Spectacular'. The company were joined by the Riverside display team who gave a spectacular gymnastic dance display, which they performed (complete with fur, whiskers and tails) in the style of the hit musical ‘Cats’. Unfortunately, our Flamenco troupe had to withdraw at the last moment but they have promised to join us next time around. A disco brought family and friends of both groups together and the floor was filled to capacity. Everyone was willing to take part in the Cowboy Ho-downs, which gave a true community togetherness to the evening. Almost three hundred people attended the evening, which raised £780 for Special Olympics. The venue hire was paid for by a grant from the Small Sparks fund which is designed to bring people and communities together. Overall, the evening was a great success and we have been inundated with requests to make the Celebration Evening a regular event on the Earthbeat calendar. Watch this space! Helen Smith Earthbeat Theatre Company 1                Gardeners Together                                £250                 2                Active Getting to Know Each Other        £250                 3                Indoor Bowling                                        £200                 4                Getting to Know Your Neighbours        £50                 5                Celebration Supper                                £220                 6                Coffee Morning                                        £50                 7                Ladies Football Team                        £250                 8                Leaders Project                                £250                 9                Walks of Life                                        £160                 10        Community Chocolate Challenge        £100                 11        ROC Promoter                                        £250                 12        Garden Fete                                        £150                 13        Sensory Garden                                £200                 14        Welcome to Work                                £60                 15        Hetherfields Hello    
  • a musical evening provided by young people some of whom have a disability, a sponsored walk to raise funds for a charity, reminiscence meetings including people with a learning disability and neighbours, a project to include people with disability in the local festival
  • There was a diverse range of ideas, which covered a wide variety of interests including cooking, gardening, sports, skittles and days out. In particular, it has been encouraging to see that all the applicants have been extensively involved in managing their own projects and some applicants have planned and organised their projects with only limited help from other people. Furthermore, some of the projects have led to regular events, for example, a group of individuals now regularly play skittles following Small Sparks funding for a skittles night. Consequently the projects have been hugely beneficial to all the individuals involved. A celebratory event is being planned for the Small Sparks projects. This will provide an opportunity for all the people involved to get together and share their ideas and experiences and to recognise and celebrate their incredible achievements. The projects: Sonia Nethercott Sports Day for Under 5s – this event was organised at the local community centre and was attended by a wide range of individuals. Sonia organised the day to “…bring a better understanding of everyone’s needs and to talk about what more can be done for under 5s…” in their local area. Sonia did all the organising herself and although she found this stressful she was really pleased with the outcome and cannot believe how much she has achieved. The project was a fantastic achievement and Sonia believes that her self confidence has increased. (Note: Sonia’s photos are not digital so cannot be emailed) Reuben Fletcher Go Cook – Rueben was very much involved in the planning of his project and as you can see from the photographs he did the shopping, cooking, eating and washing up for his project. The project involved four evening cooking/dinner sessions with a group of friends (including new friends made through his project). His mother remarked at the last of the sessions that it had been a long time since she had seen Reuben so happy! (Photos attached) Kevin Reeve Day Trip to Longleat – Kevin had the initial idea and organised the project himself with only limited help from his key worker Jo. This included all stages of the planning, from the invites and transport, plus taking photos on the day. A large group of individuals (approx. a dozen) from The Saturday Club, a group that Kevin attends, went to Longleat and absolutely loved the animals especially the big cats. The project was an outstanding achievement and Kevin is rightly proud of the fact that he did so much work and the day was a success. Kevin lives with his Dad and has lots of friends at The Saturday Club. He wants to organise another trip to Longleat next year. (Note: Kevin’s photos are not digital) Graham Moore Gardening Mates – Graham has been attending gardening classes at the Ridgewood Centre and wanted to set up his own Jungle Garden with his friend Royston and some of the other students from his gardening class. The small sparks funding helped to pay for lots of new plants for the garden and Graham was involved in the planning of the garden, choosing and shopping for plants, plus the actual planting. Graham is proud of his achievement and the garden is a living demonstration of the success of his project. (Powerpoint attached) Victor Joannidi Skittles Competition Night – this was so successful that it has led to a regular skittles evening. Victor and a large group of people with learning difficulties (all from different residential homes) played skittles at a pub in Filton, South Gloucestershire. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. (Photos attached) Simon Corbin Day Trip to Cardiff drop-in – Simon goes to The Meeting Place (a drop-in for people with learning difficulties). He had the idea of visiting another drop-in to meet some new people and bringing people together that have not met before. Simon did most of the planning for the trip but unfortunately on the day of the trip Simon could not go. Instead some others from the group went and had a great day meeting new people. Simon is going to try to organise another day with the help of the co-ordinator at the Meeting Place. (Photos to follow – I am waiting to receive them by email) Paul Williams Open Doors at Chasefield Garden – Paul wanted to develop a quiet shady area in the garden where people can meet, plus develop an art and craft area. The project has involved lots of planning and preparation, which Paul has been involved in. In addition it has brought together many different people with learning difficulties to work on the garden. The project has made a significant difference to the garden and work is continuing on other aspects of the garden now that Paul’s project is complete. (Photos to follow – I am waiting to receive them by email)
  • Successful projects – those that involved people without disabilities as partners. These at one end of range. Other end were projects which didn’t involve people without disabilities at all. Quite a few in the middle.
  • Small Sparks

    1. 1. SMALL SPARKS
    2. 2. SMALL investment BIG significance
    3. 3. SEATTLE Community building for $250
    4. 4. SMALL SPARKS SIMPLE £250 matched funds Community building Good idea Catchy name Involve new people Complete in 8 weeks Make a record Celebrate For people on edge of eligibility
    5. 5. SMALL SPARKS LOW TECH No new LA Department! Advertise Discuss idea Catchy name Give the money Arrange celebration
    6. 6. SMALL SPARKS TESTED Four local authorities £2500 each Redcar, Wigan, West Sussex, South Glos Produced £2500 more
    7. 7. SMALL SPARKS RESULT WEST SUSSEX Icon-Diva nightclub “It was out of this world. I met a lot of people I had not seen before. I didn’t want it to end. I want to go again.”
    8. 8. SMALL SPARKS WEST SUSSEX Multi-coloured swapshop Burnstock music festival Pines allotment The Godfather Playday Easy steps to banking Inclusive sports festival Rustington community gardens Hilary’s crafty ideas
    9. 9. SMALL SPARKS REDCAR Gardeners together “We invited the other allotment holders to a meeting. We used the money to buy a BBQ and a gazebo. We paid for the food and drinks.”
    10. 10. SMALL SPARKS REDCAR Heatherfields Hello Kirkleatham sensory garden Celebration supper Ladies football Walks of life Community chocolate challenge Garden Fete Get to know your neighbours Leaders project
    11. 11. SMALL SPARKS WIGAN Sponsored cycle ride “Joseph knew quite a lot of people before. But he knows a lot more now.”
    12. 12. SMALL SPARKS WIGAN Musical evening Race night Reminiscence with neighbours Including people in the local festival
    13. 13. SOUTH GLOS Sports day for under 5’s Gardening Friends Go Cook Open Doors Skittle competition SMALL SPARKS
    14. 14. SMALL SPARKS IMPORTANT 40 + projects for £10,000 People as activists Low tech Doable – a way of turning rhetoric into reality More learning to do Strategic importance

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