BCCT – what it is and what it does
Bude Coastal Community Team (BCCT) is a volunteer-led organisation that works to bring social, economic and environmental benefits to the wider Bude area. It may not sound too exciting to anyone who is not directly involved, but it has benefited many people, the community and indeed, businesses in the locality.
At the start of the year, which seemed full of promise, BCCT signed a collaboration agreement with Cornwall and Bude-Stratton Councils and the Local Enterprise Partnership, which meant organisations could work together to achieve maximum results for Bude. Given the difficulties during 2020, we can surely all agree that BCCT has made remarkable progress.
BCCT was also party to the creation of the Bude-Stratton Strategic Programme (BSSP) – a list of projects to bring to fruition. It also became a Community Interest Company, which is a not-for-profit social enterprise. The wonderful and important news is that, for every £1 spent on BCCT’s Managers sorting out all these arrangements, £5 in funding was secured for the community.
As with any other such organisation, 2020 brought very special challenges as Covid acted as a stranglehold on so many innovative projects. No-one could have predicted in January quite what a difficult year 2020 would be, so the impact of COVID-19 has influenced much of BCCT’s work. Here are just a few of their successes, despite (or at times, because of) Covid and social distancing:
- In June, BCCT made an indefinite loan of five laptops computers to Budehaven Community School to assist pupils working from home during the first lockdown. Some pupils without access to a computer had been trying to complete their homework on mobile phones, which is close to impossible, so BCCT was only too pleased to be able to help the local school students.
- For the first six months of 2020, BCCT Community Projects Manager, Ian Saltern worked to develop an application to the National Lottery Community Fund’s Climate Action Fund. In August, they learned that the application had been successful – one of only 23 grants made by the programme across the whole UK. The £200,000 grant was awarded to local, community-led environmental groups to investigate how best to respond to the climate crisis in the Bude area.
- August also saw the hard work by BCCT Development Manager Tim Bagshaw pay off, when approval was given to an application for funding for the Bude Business Voice project. This initiative will provide local businesses with information about key issues such as funding, recruitment and collaboration. BCCT secured a grant from the Community Led Local Development programme of £13,321.
In late summer, BCCT hosted a socially-distanced ‘Creative Conversation’, which saw local people involved in culture and the creative industries give their views on Cornwall Council’s Creative Manifesto, which emphasises the importance of community-based activity, and recognises that post-recovery, we will need to find new ways of working to develop (and make more profitable) talent in the cultural and creative sectors.
BCCT was particularly eager to host the Creative Conversation to ensure that the voice of our corner of Cornwall was heard in Truro.
Leading on from this, BCCT reached out to, and surveyed, local individuals and businesses in the sector, seeking their views about how it could offer further support. BCCT is also compiling a directory of these businesses and, with thanks to their Steering Group member Cllr Peter La Broy, they have been in conversation with Cornwall Council’s Culture and Creative Economy Team, putting Bude on the culture map.
Young people are the future lifeblood of any town, so it is gratifying to see BCCT talents put to use to assist in the education of Bude’s youth.
- In September, town councillor Robert Uhlig set up a meeting with the Headteacher of Budehaven Community School to investigate how BCCT could help the school’s response to the Covid pandemic. Increased pupil numbers and social-distancing requirements had meant that the School was struggling to accommodate pupils. BCCT developed an application on behalf of the School to Cornwall Council’s Community Infrastructure Levy Fund to pay for a small temporary building which could ease some of the pressure on space. Budehaven Headteacher Dom Wilkes said: “We have worked very closely this year with BCCT through their help in writing a bid for our school to hopefully secure an additional student support area in school. Their work has been excellent, with efficient and detailed communication. Ian Saltern’s hard work and efforts have saved us an inordinate amount of time”.
- BCCT also gave its strong support to another application to the Community Infrastructure Levy Fund led by Cllr La Broy which will provide electric vehicles for hire in Bude. A decision on both Community Infrastructure Levy Fund applications is due early in the new year.
- In November, BCCT was approached by Cleaner Seas to partner with its Crowdfunder campaign to create a community garden at Budehaven School in memory of former pupil, Pearl Bamford. The garden will provide students at the school with a natural space for mindfulness where they can engage with nature. Cleaner Seas Director, Avril Sainsbury, said: “We were hugely grateful for the involvement of BCCT with the project and for the assistance it has provided. The fundraising campaign has been so successful that we are now looking to expand our original project and create additional areas of wildlife garden at the school”.
- In autumn, BCCT partnered with the Neetside Community Centre to establish a Social Action Fund for the wider Bude area. The idea of the Fund is to provide small grants to grassroots organisations working in Bude and surrounding parishes helping people who have been indirectly affected by COVID-19. This might be organisations helping people with fuel or food poverty, isolation or loneliness. Miranda Clarke, Neetside Community Centre Manager said: “We were only too pleased to partner with BCCT on the Social Action Fund. It’s clear that the indirect impacts of COVID-19 will be felt for months to come, and that local groups will need help addressing those impacts. It is hoped that people will contribute towards the Fund, allowing small grants to be made to local organisations”.
A Crowdfunder campaign has been set-up to raise money for the Fund which remains open until 31 January. You can donate here. It currently stands at £842 but the target is £10,000 so there is a way to go. Hopefully, now Christmas has passed, people will look to the future.
What will 2021 bring for BCCT? It is likely that the organisation will need to reform to align with the Government’s agenda of ‘levelling-up’.
There are certain to be opportunities to attract further funding to Bude as we ‘build back better’ from COVID-19 and as new Government funding becomes available. BCCT will continue to work in collaboration and partnership to ensure the wider Bude area achieves the maximum social, economic and environmental benefits from the opportunities on offer.
Watch this space.
Info provided by Ian Saltern of BCCT, to whom thanks.