Over the past few months, the community of Speke have developed by the bucket load. New relationships have been built, connections have been made and people are actually working together . This to some people may not seem like much of a result but to the people of Speke it is a massive achievement, it will prevent duplications in services, open the groups up to larger funding pots and most importantly it will increase their ability to become sustainable as the saying is true “there is strength in numbers”


Speak out Speke Winners 2011


Lets Get Together…… shortly after the seed funding had been awarded the groups got together to share their stories and get to know one another. We also produced some certificates for the winners and arranged for Talk about Local to come and do some training on the community blog ‘Speke your mind’ so overall it was an action packed day. The groups all came which was brilliant and the room was really buzzing, and then it hit home exactly what was happening….all of these groups/projects/organisations had been working literally within feet of one another and this was the first time that some of them had come together. Each group introduced themselves and gave the others a little information about their project and what it is they aim to achieve through the Neighbourhood challenge. This was really lovely to hear because some of these project twelve months ago had been nothing more than an idea or a pipe dream and thanks to the Neighbourhood Challenge and the support in the community they are now a part of a thriving provision for the Speke, the other well-known projects also go their time to shine because not only was this their first opportunity to information share but it gave them a real platform to share what they have been doing in the community and pass on their wisdom to the other projects.

Attitude Drama, Kimberley Preston

As a result of the training day, many of  the groups decided to work together rather than alone and going forward to the final stage of the awards there will hopefully be some collaborative projects, this is fantastic not just because it will reinforce the projects but because it will also have a greater impact on the community and show other potential funders that they can achieve really value for money by investing in these groups/projects.

Throughout the challenge we have  continued to learn and progress along with the groups, we as the Community Foundation are used to being grant makers, we have never had the opportunity to steer away from this and actually get out their into communities . Because of this we have had to constantly remind ourselves of the difference between a PRIZE and a GRANT, here are some of the differences we came up with which have really helped us to keep on track with our  PRIZE CHALLENGE.




  • Grants are awarded/ Declined
  • Applicants Apply
  • Grant Makers/ Donors are in control
  • Certain aspects are expected
  • They are process driven/ structured
  • Restrictive
  • Slower/Longer Process
  • Traditional
  • Accountable
  • There is less risk involved
  • They are assessed
  • Less Flexible



  • There are winners and losers
  • Rewards and Awards
  • People are more empowered
  • Celebrated both privately and publicly
  • Innovative
  • open to all
  • Looser criteria
  • Quick
  • New
  • They create real opportunities for real people
  • They require a level of bravery
  • There is more at risk for the applicant
  • Judging
  • Nerve Wracking
  • More Flexible approach

    The Growing Old together project with John McEvatt









Moving onto the final stage of judging we know that the criteria need to be robust and clear, still taking into account the differences between a prize and a grant so we have decided to create a support pack which will have documents the groups can continue to use once the programmes ends as tools for other funding streams etc but also providing the judges with as much information as possible, showing the groups innovation and visions but ensuring its in keeping with the criteria.

Liverpool, Garston Handball Club


 We will be hosting the final stage of judging around the 16th April, all groups will be present on the day along with the judges. They will all have the opportunity to showcase their packs and their projects whilst being available to answer any questions the judges may have, presentations are optional but not essential.

The judges will then have a week to make their decisions, a prize pot of £80,000.00is not something to be taken lightly and will require a thorough thought process. The following week we have managed to secure with the support of NESTA a two-day conference with the wonderful Cormac Russell who will be delivering the ABCD training to the community of Speke, this should lift the spirits of  the groups and reiterate all of the hard work we have done over the months show casing the assets that have always been right there in their community. And just to make things extra special we will be hosting a final celebration event at the end of April to showcase all of the hard work the groups have been doing.

Laura and Georgie, The Parent Hub

We would also like to make a short film capturing the opinions of the groups/projects and also any comments from the community, this is something we will be looking into over the next few weeks. VERY exciting times but I think I will be saying on behalf of the whole community it is such a shame this project is coming to an end so soon, however I think its legacy will remain for years to come.

Five for Families




And the Winners Are…….

We finally held the first round of judging on the 15th of December and I must say it was a complete success!! Out of  the 12 projects that entered the judges decided to fund 11. They were really impressed by the amount of innovation each project had shown and the support each person was willing to offer the community in one way or another was amazing.

The winners are:

The Post Natal Depression Project ran by the Leeson Centre awarded £2500.00

Speke, Garston Handball Club awarded £2500.00

The Growing Old Together Project awarded £2500.00

Five Seasons Dads Group awarded £2500.00

Beat Abuse awarded £2500.00

Attitude Drama awarded £2500.00

The Parent Hub awarded £2500.00

Speke Adventure Playground, locally known as the Venny awarded £2500.00

Speke Catholic Youth Service awarded £2500.00

Speke Baptist Church awarded £2500.00

Ready Steady School awarded £2500.00

and only one application was declined which was a shame but the judges felt that the application was not in keeping with the Neighbourhood Challenge or the criteria set by the community, although they applicant will still be offered support and sign posted to other agencies who may be able to help so it isn’t all bad news. Now it is time for the hard work to begin….each project will begin making their projects become reality and working towards the main  prize of £20,000.00. I have more details about the groups and what they are are about if anyone else is interested.

We at the Community Foundation will support each project with training requests, attending board meetings, getting bank accounts set up etc luckily the majority of our groups are now constituted since joining the challenge or well on their way at least. We have also requested some training from NESTA so fingers crossed this is approved and we can put  information and support into the community of Speke empowering them and their resources to continue the hard work once the challenge finishes in the Spring.

There have been some real successes coming out of the projects, some have  exceeded any expectations and people are actually starting to work together, projects are working with each other and information sharing …this to me is THE most exciting thing, when I arrived in Speke it was so fragmented, people did know each other and on the odd occasion projects may be shared between services but these are real collaboration attempts, friendships and partnership are being built which will go some way to adding to their sustainability I’m sure.

I will keep you posted with any new news and I will also share some pics and case studies over the coming months……..

A,B,C,D its the future!

Hey Everyone,

It has yet again been a manic few months, I would firstly like to apologise for the lack of updates….but I will be aiming to have a fresh blog monthly from here on in, it’s all getting really exciting!

We have had a few set backs with the Challenge and it has been a massive learning curve for all involved but we have worked through them and are back on track and it is all adding to the learning aspect if nothing else. My personal development has been the highlight of the past few months if I’m honest, I have absorbed more valuable information over the past few months than I have in my entire working life I feel. I recently attended the Asset Based Community Developement (ABCD) training in Manchester hosted by the lovely Cormac Russell and Jim Diers, it was a fabulous two-day course which really brought us back to basics and to realise the true potential power that a community has.

Some of the games we played were truly fascinating, not in the actual playing but the outcomes….basically we were given a pack of 100 potential jobs, some trades i.e knocking down walls, plastering, plumbing that sort of thing and then other jobs such as organising meetings, answering the phone etc and we had three cards each with I can do, I can’t but I know someone who can, I can’t do and I don’t know anyone that can. We had to guess what the results would be and they couldn’t have been more wrong, 83% of the jobs on those cards we could actually do amongst the 8 people on our table and the other 17% could be done by someone who we knew, no cards were in the 3rd pile. 

How amazing is that, how often do we underestimate our assets?!?!?

There were many other games over the course of the two days and it truly was inspirational both on a personal level and in helping me to visualise the potential in Speke.

Its is definitely a movement I think the Neighbourhood Challenge could benefit from!

It’s all about Community!!


Well so much has happened since my last blog I am struggling with where to start!! I have been working in the community of Speke since April and to be honest initially I did wonder how I was going to perform a community based prize challenge without being a part of the community…..well I now know.

Speke is without doubt one of the most welcoming communities I have ever been in, despite what the papers and press have to say about it even some of the locals. I can now walk around the area feeling like I will be welcomed and looked after where ever I go and more to the point that people care.

When approaching people initially about the challenge you could tell they were thinking ‘ what on earth is this women going on about’ or you may have had people thinking its ‘just another funding body trying to parachute into our community with false promises’. This has happened a lot in Speke and I don’t blame them for their apathy. But a bit of persistence and the ability to prove to them  that in actual fact we were there to help them and to build them into a sustainable community through supporting the brilliant work that is already taking place as well as supporting new innovative ideas and helping to build capacity in existing groups through them actually coming forward with their ideas and ways to ‘make Speke a better place to live’.

There are many different aspects to this challenge we are not only trying to get the community involved, we are also trying to get local businesses involved and actually get them to invest in the community whether that be through financial support, mentoring or even just actually paying an interest in whats happening in and around the area. This is proving to be a challenge in itself but there are organisations coming forward to offer support so this is a positive and something that our development team will continue with.

We are also trying to help build capacity in the groups that are already in existence in Speke by supporting them with sustainability plans, assisting them with funding applications (ensuring they know where to look, how to answer the questions….selling themselves properly, what sort of funds are suitable to their projects etc) as there are no support agencies in Speke that help with this such as a CVS most of the groups in the area have never been advised or supported through this process and so there is a lack of confidence around applying to funds. This is support is already showing an improvement in groups from Speke applying for funding which we are delighted with and it is a way of measuring some of the impact the Neighbourhood Challenge is having on the community of Speke.

We also had a visit recently from the team at NESTA which was brilliant, it really gave us a chance to show the AMAZING people we have met through our work in Speke and all of the brilliant groups that are involved in the challenge. Sadly the day went too quickly and we only managed to get to visit one of our projects much to the disappointment of the others but NESTA have promised they will come back and spend the full day in Speke so that’s something to look forward to. I am heading to Birmingham in a couple of weeks to do some more learning from NESTA and the other Neighbourhood challenges which I am really excited about as it give me the opportunity to see how other areas are tackling their challenges and the whole ‘sharing and learning’ from each others experiences is invaluable in a programme like this so I’m sure I will have lots to blog after that.


I   finally wanted to finish with a case study as this really struck a chord with how some of the younger generation in Speke actually feel. Kimberley Preston currently runs a drama group called Attitude Drama, she has been running the group voluntarily for 3 years and has got more than 30 children regularly attending.

Through the Neighbourhood Challenge Kimberley wants to expand her group enabling her to have a paid position so that she can commit 100% and make her life long career out of it. She is a well-educated young girl who has just completed university and is one step away from becoming a teacher, however teaching isn’t Kimberley’s passion, she wants to engage young people from her community through drama her opening statement is ‘At Attitude Drama School we offer disadvantaged communities the ultimate stage experience through the use of issue based theatre’ and true to her word Kimberley has delivered a number of successful performances throughout the community tackling issues such as raising awareness of Alzheimer’s and also the issues around loan sharks that are active in Speke. I went to visit Kimberley last week just for a catch up and to see what had been happening with her project and she seemed really down in the dumps and a little faint hearted.

Kimberley currently has no income and volunteers 4 nights per week both with her drama group and also helping with the youth association in Speke and I think it was all just getting on top of her, she wants this dream so badly and is willing to sacrifice her career as a teacher to get there. She was really upset and began to tell me about the apathy and lack of ambition of people her age in Speke and how difficult it is to be the one that is ‘different’ and try to make change happen. This was really sad to hear and it made me appreciate why so many young people in Speke don’t follow their hopes and dreams and why so many of them end up unemployed feeling that there is no way out. Kimberley is different and I believe that her project will work and could make a real impact on Speke’s youth, if only a couple of children attending her classes could gain the confidence to follow their ambitions, Speke will be on its way generational change.





News Flash!

There are some brilliant things coming out in Speke recently potentially 100 jobs for residents of Speke have been secured through a major development called Dobbies Garden Centre, which will be located on Speke Boulevard.

There is also potential for a community allotment to be created on the Old Boys Clubs which was burnt to the ground some years ago but has  remained vacant.

This is something that there has been a real interest in for some time in Speke as I have mentioned in my earlier blogs. It will be a way for families to provide fresh nutritious food at low-cost, whilst gaining new skills. Which potentially fits in with the above news of a garden centre opening , maybe a golden opportunity for some goodies to be donated as a welcome into the community of Speke?????


When we began our blog training through Talk about Local it became apparent that it could be used as a tool to advertise, talk, share and also challenge.

William Perrin is the founder of Talk about Local and here is his story:

Community activist and former civil servant, despite a deeply rural upbringing I lived for ten of the last 15 years in London’s troubled Kings Cross district.  The problems on my doorstep were so profound I got stuck into community action and eventually set up a website to keep track of what was going on  The site now has over 1100 articles, five volunteer writers and is an indispensable part of the local civic scene.  We used the site to help fight some great campaigns, improve the area and help people connect with each other – what the wonks call ‘bridging social capital’. I set up Talk About Local to help spread the benefits of a good, simple, cheap community site to as many areas as possible.  My civil service career was fantastically varied – from the DTI to Downing Street.  As one of the creators of OFCOM I remain interested in the media regulation scene and the big society agenda.

This was really inspirational to me and so I decided to set up this is a Blog that is for the community of Speke. This could be their tool to engage with the local authorities to advertise their activities, to address the issues in the area. We have been so busy the past couple of months with just trying to get the challenge into full swing so the community blog has been slightly neglected however I will be recruiting some community members to take ownership of the Blog and I am going to be asking all of the local businesses, groups, councillors and service providers to become involved and start sharing their information. This is a really exciting aspect of the challenge and if it succeeds could see changes just like William, fingers crossed!!

So if you are interested then please visit Speke’s blog, dont you know……..its the future!

Questions answered!

Hi everyone,

Thanks for the great feedback on my blogs, I really appreciate it!

There have been some questions that NESTA feel would be beneficial to share with all of the participants of the neighbourhood Challenge so here goes my attempt at answering them, hope you find it useful:

Whats been going well so far and why? So far through the challenge the one thing that I think has really been successful is the relationship building. Speke is an area where most people drive through or around without actually taking note of what is going on there. It has also been filled with false promise which has created a generational apathy towards new organisations coming into the area.

 However in the short period of time that I have been going out into the local community of Speke I have actually discovered  that if you are persistent, sincere and transparent they will  welcome you with open arms. This is the response that I have had over recent weeks and I can honestly say for an area tackling so many issues I have met some of THE most genuine and inspirational people. There are some really driven members of the community and they work tirelessly to make improvements where they can, there is also a long-term agenda that is apparent and although this could potentially take years to put in place it will also eradicate many of the issues that have been passed on through generations. I did have spells throughout the challenge when I thought that potentially I had bitten off more than I could chew but as the weeks are passing me by I feel more and more confident that this challenge can prove to be a real success in Speke.


What are the most challenging things you’ve faced so far and why? I’d say the biggest challenge we have faced is actually getting to grips with the delivery of the ‘Prize Challenge’  model, being a grant maker gave us many advantages  but also it hindered our ability to just let go because we are so used to processes such as set criteria, safeguarding and reducing risks. However with the ‘Prize Challenge’ it was completely different it was a chance for real innovation and empowerment with CFM acting entirely as a supportive role to enable a catalyst to form and flourish. Much to our joy I think we have the perfect balance and  there is a real buzz around the challenge and the prospects it can bring to Speke.

Initially going into an area that doesn’t even apply for grants let alone know what a Prize Challenge is was very difficult therefore we had to be very careful in the language that we used to promote it, a lot of people would have either thought it was joke or been put off at the thought of a competition as it were.

How have the Community been involved in the project set up so far? The community of  Speke has helped in various ways, such as advising on the things that they would like the prize challenge to impact, completing surveys, volunteering their friends and families to complete surveys, helping to promote the challenge through word of mouth and generally just supporting CFM as we are the ones that have come to their area they never approached us for this challenge.

Has anything surprising happened, within or around your project so far? In honesty every day that I am working on the challenge I am surprised(cliché I know!) but whether it be through people’s dedication, thoughts and ideas or just even their current work and achievements in the area. This aside I would say that originally the portrayal/perception/opinion of the area suggested that the prize challenge would never be a success, however as we have progressed the ideas and projects that have come forward have been astounding, there are good people trying to make a real difference. I’m sure each participant in the challenge will agree that it people’s willingness and commitment that continues to surprise us.

Well I do hope this has shed a bit of insight into the challenges we have faced, if you do have any questions then feel free to blog them!



Ideas, ideas, ideas!

So it’s been a few weeks since my mammoth blog and we have been ploughing on with the Neighbourhood Challenge.


We are doing really well with the relationship building and I have met some amazing people doing amazing things in the area. People are really starting to buy into this challenge and I think it is helping people to  think BIG!! Confidence in people is one of the main issues that can hinder progress, but hopefully with the support that we can offer their ambitions and ideas on ways of ‘making Speke a better place to live’ can become a reality.

Some of the people who I have met have been really inspiring and have made a real impact on me so I thought I would share their stories:

Laura Hatch is a young mum who moved to Speke from North Liverpool, she has two young children and is very active in the area. She does a lot of volunteering at the local centres and is extremely motivated and ambitious, really quite inspirational. She used to use many of the facilities in the area but unfortunately most of them have now been removed due to funding cuts, she saw the issues this was bringing  to people like herself and has decided to do something about it.

Laura would like to set up a ‘Parent Hub’ in Speke, a place where mum’s and dads can bring their children and access support and advice as well as make new friends and just have a place to be. She has done a lot of research and because she is so active in the area she can truly identify the needs of the people. Everyone she has spoken to about her idea has been in full support and I for one think it would be a brilliant investment for Speke. Now without a challenge such as this, Laura would not have known where to access the support and information and potential funding she needs to begin. She actually used the term ‘I think it was meant to be’ when talking about the Speak out Speak challenge, she is massively enthusiastic and has been working really hard to get her idea off the ground and gain as much support locally as possible.

I also visited Five for Families Children Centre in Speke and was really excited when I was invited to their partnering organisation called Can Cook Studio to meet with their managing director Robbie. Can Cook provides cookery training for communities and is based in Garston right next to Speke. When I arrived at the studio’s I have to say I was pretty taken back, firstly at the magnificent kitchen facilities they have and secondly that I had never heard of them because they are so great. They had a group of young people in on that day cooking curry from all different nationalities, they smelt amazing!


After the groups had finished cooking they then had an awards ceremony with the head chef, it was pretty brilliant.

Robbie is a local and lived in Speke all of his life, his aims are to better the area and the help the people who live in it, so really I couldn’t have met a better supporter for the challenge. He has offered me the support of his development team who will have invaluable knowledge for the challenge.

So moving on from there we have four entries so far for the prize challenge and I am going to be working with them over the next couple of weeks to support their ideas and prepare them for the judging panel. I will also be working with Five for Families and gaining access to the local community through their centre, so fingers crossed come September when we will be having our first round of judging, Speke will be buzzing with activity and people wanting to become involved.

Speak to you all soon!