WEST CHELTENHAM PARTNERSHIP
The West Cheltenham Partnership (WCP) was originally formed as Hesters Way Partnership in 1997 to help regenerate the Hesters Way area in west Cheltenham. The underlying relative deprivation of the area had been identified by Cheltenham Borough Council and partners and after research by PIEDA the regeneration of the area moved into full swing. WCP now aims to “facilitate community led sustainable change”. The recent name change reflects the broader remit the company has developed over recent years and the forthcoming developments to the west of the existing urban area
Role of the Partnership
- Co-ordinate regeneration activities
- Facilitate communication between service providers and local residents
- Identify the needs, skills and assets of the local community
- Act as a lead organisation in stimulating activity to address those needs
- Support capacity building in local organisations
- Aid regeneration of the area
- Facilitate the exchange of good practice
In this way, the Partnership acts as a vehicle to a sustainable community.
Who are the managers?
The WCP is set up as a not-for-profit Limited Company managed by a board of directors from key local stakeholders. We employ a partnership manager to develop and direct the operation of the organisation both strategically and on a day to day basis. The Dreamscheme and Pantry projects employ 3 part time staff. WCP therefore supplies 300 hrs paid and 40 hours voluntary employment per month.
How do we operate?
The WCP Board directs proceedings at it’s bi-monthly meetings and is supported by the personnel and finance committee which meets monthly and includes the chair and treasurer. This committee scrutinises the finer operational details and makes recommendations back to the Board. All decisions must be ratified by the Board by a majority vote in a quorate meeting. Staff are instructed to carry out the tasks as directed by these two groups. See meetings for more details.
1997 – 2002
After several unsuccessful bids finance was raised to build one of the key pillars for renewal identified by the PIEDA report. The community resource centre at Hesters Way was completed in 2002 and offered a variety of new services and potential office spaces which would act as a hub for the forthcoming regeneration.
The period following construction saw the growth in services including a nursery, healthy living centre and variety of support services from the Gloucestershire County Council and Surestart. The Hesters Way Neighbourhood Project grew too with support from European Social Fund sourced through the Gloucestershire Neighbourhood Projects Network. This period saw a host of support services including the development of the Neighbourhood College.
The seeds had been sewn for the construction of a new resource centre catering to the needs of the Springbank area and the new centre was completed in 2007. However, economic down turn and the end of European social fund support led to major funding shortages for key partners. Services were lost or cut back locally and the pressure to make ends meet was more pressing than ever.
The centres enjoyed further investments over the period with additions including solar panels at HWCRC along with an extension at the nursery. Improvements to the heating system were incorporated by Cheltenham Borough Homes as was a redevelopment of one of the external units to form the cash hall facility. A wind turbine was also installed in Springfield Park to provide renewable energy to the SCRC.
2012 – 2021
The community centres have been crucial to the provision of albeit lower but nonetheless critical levels of support for the local community. With funding opportunities continuing to dwindle the effective use of these centres has become more critical than ever before.
The Hesters Way Partnership change its name to the West Cheltenham Partnership (WCP) in 2021
In March 2022 the WCP took on the facilities management role at the two community centres. The funds raised from the centres are being reinvested locally. A new scheme with 30% Target 2030 funding supported the installation of LED lighting for the centres which combined with the 2021 PV scheme has helped WCP in its drive to address climate change.
The History of Hesters Way
For more information about the local areas please see Chris Green’s website; historyofhestersway.co.uk/
SERVICES WE OFFER
Join a themed group? We hold themed multi-agency meetings in Hesters Way, to address specific issues for example children and young people and community safety.
- Network in a hurry ! We can help you network, meet local agencies and find out about what’s going on.
- Find funding? We help source funding and make applications for local organisations
- Help with consultation We have supported various parks, health and educational consultations, call us for information and support
- Provide statistical information We can support your funding bids by providing stats for your bids, or help you find them
- Find a Partner! We hold a huge list of local agencies in Hesters Way, feel free to ask us for local contacts.
- Help with an event? We can help you set up an event, find a venue, get local stallholders and support your advertising needs.
- Set up a social group? We can help find like-minded people to join your local group and help you make it a success.
- Address a local issue? We can help you to solve local issues by campaigning support and through our town wide contacts
- Identify and access training? We can help you find training opportunities that suit your needs and your pocket
Ryan Barkle is Chair of the Hesters Way Partnership and is employed by Bromford Housing Association. He has 15 years’ experience in social Housing and has worked locally for Cheltenham Borough Homes, Gloucestershire Housing Association and Severn Vale Housing and Guinness Trust. Ryan has a BA (Hons) in Business Management and a HNC in Social Housing and has worked with the Hesters Way Partnership since 2007. He became a director in 2009 and chairs the partnership meetings.
Mark Saunders (Treasurer) a local solicitor specialising in family law many of whose clients are based locally was also appointed a Director in November 2012. His experience and know how will greatly enhance the skills of the group.
Wendy Flynn has served as a local Councillor for over 20 years. She joined the Partnership in 2021 and is a past mayor of the town. Wendy has supported a variety of local projects and is currently a member of the Hesters Way Forum.
Dermot McNiffe joined the Partnership in 2018 and is Head Teacher at All Saints Academy. The mixed 11-18 Faith Academy has 960 pupils on roll including a new 6th form and is sponsored by the local Catholic and Anglican diocese serving Hesters Way and surrounding areas.
Beth Morgan is Deputy Head of Pate’s Grammar School and has specific skills and knowledge in safeguarding. Beth joined in 2021 and follows a number of representatives from Pates linking the school with community groups such as Family Space and developing relationships with community organisations.
Janice Hamilton our latest appointment and Pioneer Minister representing the West Cheltenham Churches, Janice has a keen interest in community cohesion and working with local organisations for the benefit of the whole community.
GCHQ Director – Appointed 2017
Andy Hayes – Company Secretary