Author Archive

Jon Boswell

Jon is Chief Executive of BRCC

BRCC opens new Mobility Hub in Bedford town centre

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Community Transport, Latest News, Volunteering

Picture: Dave Hodgson hands over the keys for the Mobility Hub to Jon Boswell

BRCC’s new Mobility Hub in Bedford town centre opened on Monday 4th September. Based at Bedford bus station, this new hub will enable customers to hire a range of mobility equipment and access information on community-run transport services across the Borough.

The Mobility Hub is the result of a new agreement between Bedford Borough Council and Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity (BRCC) to continue to provide Door to Door community transport services for people who have difficulty using or accessing public transport. The town centre mobility service will be delivered through a partnership with Bedford Shopmobility, which previously operated a mobility service from a unit in the Howard Centre.

Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said: “We’re delighted that this new facility has opened in the heart of Bedford town centre. The mobility hub will help people to get into and around the town centre, making it easier for them to access its amenities and excellent local businesses.’

Jon Boswell, BRCC Chief Executive, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Bedford Borough Council and Bedford Shopmobility to help people with mobility problems to get around Bedford. We are also keen to hear from anyone who would be interested in volunteering at the Hub.”

For more information please visit http://bedsrcc.org.uk/mobilityhub/.

Warden Abbey Vineyard shortlisted in the Rural Business Awards 2017

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Latest News

We are delighted to announce that our Warden Abbey Vineyard project has been shortlisted in the Social Enterprise/Community Project of the Year category of the Rural Business Awards 2017.

The winner of each category will be announced at an awards ceremony on Thursday 5th October 2017 at Denbies Wine Estate, Surrey. Further information about the ceremony can be found here.

BRCC needs your votes to receive up to £25,000 from Bedfordshire Freemasons

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Latest News

BRCC is appealing to all our friends, supporters and service users to vote online to help us receive a Community Award from the Freemasons of up to £25,000.

As part of Freemasonry’s 300th anniversary celebrations, the Masonic Charitable Foundation is distributing £3 million to 300 charities across the country, and BRCC is one of those selected. Each of the nominated charities will receive a grant, but the public vote will determine how much they receive, ranging from £4,000 to £25,000.  The grant will support the work of our Village and Community Agents in rural Bedfordshire.

To vote please visit the MCF website mcf.org.uk/vote, select the Bedfordshire page and vote for our entry by Monday, 31 July.

The Masonic Charitable Foundation obtains all of its funding from Freemasons and their families. It is estimated that half of Freemasonry’s total charitable expenditure of over £33m goes to charities that help people in communities across the country.

Greensand Country Landscape Partnership seeks Conservation & Project Officer

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Greensand Country Landscape Partnership, Job vacancies, Latest News

Could you make a difference to a whole landscape?

BRCC and the Greensand Trust are the lead bodies for the Greensand Country Landscape Partnership, recently established with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Greensand Country comprises the Greensand Ridge (a 35 mile-long narrow wooded sandstone ridge to the south of Bedford), and the Flit Valley.

We are now seeking to fill the important role of Conservation and Project Officer. Help us to create a living and working landscape that is cherished by present and future generations and a rich natural and built heritage which is sustained and understood.

To apply

For further information on how to apply, please download the information pack below. If you would like an informal chat please call Claire on: 07534484971.

Application deadline: Monday 31st July 2017 at 9am

Interviews: Wednesday 9th August 2017 (or an alternative date can be arranged subject to availability)

Downloads:

Information pack – GSCLP Conservation and Project Officer

BRCC Equality & Diversity monitoring form

For more information about the Partnership and the programme visit www.greensandcountry.com.

 

 

 

BRCC cheers its volunteers in Central Bedfordshire

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Good Neighbour Scheme, Latest News, Supporting Communities, Volunteering, Walking 4 Health

We are delighted that groups and volunteers supported by BRCC have been recognised by Central Bedfordshire Council at their third Cheering Volunteering awards, which took place at the Grove Theatre, in Dunstable, on the evening of 6 June.

The annual event is intended to thank the many volunteers and voluntary organisations across Central Bedfordshire for the often unheralded work they do to help others in their community.

Flitton & Greenfield Good Neighbours, part of BRCC’s Good Neighbour schemes Network, won the John Buxton Panel’s Choice Award.

Katie and Brian Juffs (pictured), leaders of our Walking 4 Health group in Arlesey, were Highly Commended under the same award.

Ex-BRCC Board member Michael Grant was a runner-up for the Lifetime Achievement Award.

You can find full details at http://centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/news/june/cheering-volunteering.aspx

Fun on the Line at St Albans Abbey

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Community Transport, Latest News

There was a half-term treat at St Albans Abbey station on Friday 2nd June, when a Fun Day was held by the Abbey Line Community Rail Partnership. The ALCRP, hosted by BRCC, works to promote and support the rail line from St Albans to Watford.

Children and adults alike were thrilled with the ride-on steam train, face painting, magician, balloon modelling, traditional games and jazz band, amongst many other attractions. The ride-on train provided by the North London Society of Engineers proved to be a popular attraction, allowing a contrast with London Midland’s modern electric trains with a ‘kids travel free’ offer on the day. Kids travelling to the event were also treated to a free goody bag courtesy of The Abbey Line CRP.

The event was supported by volunteers from the Community Rail Partnership’s members and station adopters.

Edna Woname, Abbey Line CRP Officer said ‘The aim was for our Community to come and meet us and learn more about the Abbey Line Community Rail Partnership and how its making a difference on the Abbey Line, as well raise the awareness of the line itself which runs between Watford and St Albans Abbey. I am particularly grateful for the support we received from local organisations AECOM, Abbey Theatre, Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre, Oaklands College and St Albans Signal Box as our aim is to reach out to the wider community. This was a great event with hundreds of people enjoying the day. I am already planning what we can do next year.”

Steve Helfet, Head of West Coast Services at London Midland said “It was great to see so many people enjoying themselves at St Albans Abbey station and on the train and I’m really pleased that we were able to provide better journeys on the day for so many of our younger guests, with our offer of free travel. Our colleagues at Network Rail were very helpful with the event, which meant we could do so much more, and we are very grateful for their support. We’re looking forward to seeing what we can do with the next special event on the line!”

You can find out more about the Abbey Line Community Rail Partnership at http://abbeyline.org.uk/

Local Area Coordinators needed for new contract in Bedford Borough

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Job vacancies, Latest News, Supporting Communities

BRCC has recently won a contract tendered by Bedford Borough Council for a development partner to introduce Local Area Coordinators across the Borough. The contract is for 2 years, with the option to extend for 1 further year.

The 3 Local Area Coordinators are to be catalysts for the development of community capacity and “self-help” groups. They will foster the creation of, and signpost people to, alternatives that can prevent entry to the care system. Early support and non-statutory intervention to nip problems in the bud and maintain independence is the focus for these roles. The target group is people with some vulnerability but not yet eligible for Council social care services.

In the interests of finding the best possible candidates for these positions, we will consider applications for job share (where a role is shared by two people applying together); job split (where a role is split on a part-time basis between two or more people applying separately); and secondment from other organisations.

An enhanced DBS check is required.

For further details, including how to apply, please download the files below:

BRCC Local Area Coordinator application information Mar 2017

Local Area Coordinator Application Form

BRCC-Job-Application-EO-monitoring

Application deadline: 9am on Wednesday 3rd May 2017.

Interviews: Tuesday 16th or Wednesday 17th May in Cardington.

 

Central Bedfordshire Village Halls & Community Buildings Survey 2017 – your response is much appreciated

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Community Buildings Advice, Latest News

Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity and Central Bedfordshire Council are carrying out a survey to help inform future investment in community facilities and the provision of support services, as well as enabling an up to date directory to be produced.

We are aiming for as comprehensive a response as possible, so if you are involved in managing a community building in Central Bedfordshire, please ensure a response from your committee. You can find the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/centralbedfordshirecommunitybuildingssurvey2017

All people completing the survey will be entered into a prize draw for a free 5-year BRCC membership (currently worth £140) for their building. A full report analysing the findings will be produced and made available online.

If you have any enquiries relating to this survey, please contact Bob Hughes, Community Buildings Adviser, on (01234) 832646 or at bobh@bedsrcc.org.uk.

£1.66 million from Heritage Lottery Fund awarded to help preserve the character of the Greensand Country landscape

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Greensand Country Landscape Partnership, Latest News

The Greensand Country Landscape Partnership (managed by BRCC) is delighted to announce that it has secured £1.66m National Lottery funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to support an array of exciting projects which will help us raise awareness of the hidden heritage of the Greensand Country and to reverse the gradual decline in the distinct character of this beautiful and loved landscape.

‘Greensand Country’ is an island of higher ground, which is made up of the Greensand Ridge and the surrounding river valleys. It stretches from Leighton Buzzard to Gamlingay, rising out of the flatter clay vales. The area’s sandy soils were not suitable for agriculture, so by medieval times the land was mainly used for grazing, woodland, deer hunting and keeping rabbits. Much of this ‘poor’ land had been used to support the foundation of monasteries, but when these were dissolved under Henry VIII, the land was given away to those in the king’s favour, who built their manor houses and parks up on the former monastic estates. As a result of this history, the area contains all of Bedfordshire’s remaining lowland heathland, more than half of its woodland, and more surviving historic parkland than any other landscape in the country.

However, the landscape’s very distinctive character has been weakening over decades due to modern development and changes in land use. Valuable habitats are becoming fragmented; views of and from the area are being lost or impaired and traditional heritage skills are dying out.

The Greensand Country Landscape Partnership has been formed by a range of partners in the area who will work with landowners and local communities to take a joined up approach to meeting the challenges in the area. The Partnership is led by BRCC and the Greensand Trust, and also includes the RSPB, The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, Central Bedfordshire Council, Bedfordshire and Luton Biodiversity Recording and Monitoring Centre, Bedfordshire Geology Group, Sustrans, British Horse Society, Flitwick Town Council, Shuttleworth College, local landscape author Brian Kerr, Community Voluntary Service, The Shuttleworth Trust, Federation of Small Businesses, Arnold White Estates Limited and Clophill Heritage Trust.

The 4-year programme will deliver the following:

  • Restoration and expansion of key habitats such as lowland heathland and grasslands
  • Events, workshops and festivals focused on the landscape and its heritage
  • Improvements to footpaths, cycle ways and bridleways
  • Much greater provision of information about the area, its hidden stories and its history, and its significance to our national and local heritage
  • Training and apprenticeships in order to develop the skills needed to look after this landscape for the future
  • Opportunities for local communities to volunteer and bid for funding for their own heritage projects

The Partnership is now hard at work getting started on the programme and recruiting three staff (see job advertisement here).

Jon Boswell, Chief Executive at Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity and Chair of the GCLP, said: “We are thrilled to have gained this funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to deliver our Landscape Partnership programme with our partners in the area. Even locally, the fascinating heritage of the Greensand Country is not well known. As a result of this funding, we will be able to preserve the distinctive character of much of this beautiful landscape, and provide a multitude of opportunities for local people and visitors to enjoy and learn about the landscape and contribute to its future conservation.”

Robyn Llewellyn, Head of HLF East of England, said: “From healthy heathlands and working woodlands to storytelling and geotrails, we’re delighted to support this project which will achieve a sustainable future for the Greensand landscape and reconnect people with the natural heritage on their doorstep.

“Alongside a diverse partnership of organisations, volunteers and communities will play an integral role in this exciting vision for Greensand Country, gaining the skills and experience needed to not only reverse its decline but ensure it continues to thrive beyond the lifespan of the project.”

If you would like to learn more or get involved please see http://bedsrcc.org.uk/rural/greensand-country-landscape-partnership/

The Greensand Country Landscape Partnership is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It is made possible by National Lottery players. Without them we couldn’t fund the project.

 

Seeking new staff for our LEADER grant programmes

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Beds & Hunts Claylands, Greensand Ridge LAG, Job vacancies, Latest News, Rural Development

Are you seeking a new challenge in the Bedfordshire area? Could you assist rural businesses to negotiate the challenges of applying for European funding?

BRCC is the accountable body for two Local Action Groups (LAGs), covering the Greensand Ridge and Beds & Hunts Claylands areas. Following a review of staffing requirements, we are recruiting for two new positions for our delivery team:

LAG Officer
Download: Application information (PDF)

LAG Support Officer
Download: Application information (PDF)

Equal Opportunities Monitoring
Please complete, and return with your application, our Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form, which can be downloaded below:

Download: Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form

Looking for our new Landscape Partnership posts instead? Visit here.

To Apply

Please send:

1.    A CV which shows us how your knowledge, skills and experience fit the role as described in the person specification and job description.

2.    A supporting statement which describes:

a.    The experience and knowledge you have which would enable you to carry out the role as described in the job description.

b.    How you fit with the selection criteria as set out in the person specification.

c.    Why you would like this role.

3.    The Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form

Please send these to Lisa King at lisak@bedsrcc.org.uk or by post to BRCC, The Old School, Cardington, Bedford MK44 3SX.

Contact us

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    The Old School
    Cardington
    Bedford
    MK44 3SX

    (01234) 838771
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