Sixteen community leaders and residents have met to work on ideas to improve the area of Keighley, West Yorkshire which were put forward by residents at a community meeting before the lockdown.
The ROC Keighley action group met on Zoom and decided who will join smaller task groups to tackle reducing crime, supporting young people, addressing loneliness and isolation, and improving communication in the town.
The subject areas were chosen at a community meeting at Victoria Hall in March, when more than 150 adults and young people from across the community talked about the positives of living in Keighley, and came up with ideas to improve the town. A wide variety of agencies and local groups were represented and everyone who attended was asked if they wanted to join the action group to make their ideas a reality.
Fifty people put their names forward for the action group, and attended a follow-up Zoom call.
West Yorkshire Police commissioned the ROC project and Inspector Adam Beecroft is representing the force in the action group. He told the Zoom call a positive outcome of the covid-19 outbreak is that communication between statutory organisations and community groups and leaders had improved and people were talking more frequently using video conferencing.
He said: “We’ve worked closely with the youth service in particular and there has been good youth communication through WhatsApp and online quizzes.”
Cllr Firth, a district councillor in Keighley East, said the Keighley Hub had been a successful partnership between the police, council, charities, faith groups and volunteers to meet the needs of the community such as delivery of food and medication.
The group also discussed the challenges from covid-19, including increased unemployment, a rise in mental health issues, and the need for bereavement support.
Mr Kelly from Keighley College said: “We want the college to be at the heart of Keighley in every way, and we’re committed to supporting young people, and adults, to succeed. In the fallout of the coronavirus crisis, we feel our role is more important than ever and we are excited to be involved in this action group.”
Rev Pritchard said: “We have made a great start here but we welcome more people to get involved and help us make the community’s ideas a reality. This is not an exclusive group, it’s for anyone and everyone who loves Keighley and wants to make a positive difference to our area.”
The action group has launched a Dragon’s Den-style competition for residents of Keighley to start a community project.
Organisations and groups can apply to ROC Keighley for £500 to start a scheme that reduces crime, supports young people, addresses loneliness and isolation, or improves communication in the town.
The action group will judge entries in September and up to eight groups will receive £500.
A similar scheme has been launched in Bradford East.