Hey Everyone, apologies for the lack of blogging I have literally not had a minute over the past couple of weeks, it has been eventful!

I will start with the meeting that we had in Manchester with all of the other Neighbourhood Projects, the day was brilliant with some excellent workshops and speakers  and it was a real opportunity for myself and my grants director Nicky to thrash through our ideas with the challenge. Now up to this point we thought we had it all planned out nicely, timings, launch etc. We soon came to realise this wasn’t the case, we were definitely thinking with a ‘Grants’ perspective which it isn’t what the challenge is about, so although we were due to launch the challenge at Speke Neighbours Day they following week we had to scrap our ideas and decided to go in with a much softer more friendly approach.

This did throw us into limbo as we knew that we wouldn’t have the opportunity to be involved with so many residents again throughout the Challenge but we also didn’t want to give anyone false information as that would raise false hopes and potentially just add the apathy that the area already has around funding.

We decided to put together a small leaflet, still have our stall on the day and approach people to have a chat about the challenge and any ideas that they have that could potentially ‘make Speke a better place to live’ . All in all the day went really well, it was 29 degrees and we well and truly cooked but there was a fun fair and lots of stalls. One thing we did notice was that people were initially very wary and almost aggressive with their approach to funding/funders but once we began speaking to them in a more friendly way, ideas began flooding out.

We noticed that the people approaching the stall were not happy in completing any forms or even writing down some of their ideas on a suggestions card, this showed us some of the possible reasons why people of Speke tend not to have formal community groups and perhaps why they never seem to apply for funding?! There is a massive lack of confidence in the area and this is a hurdle I would really like to help them with as some of the ideas the people  had were excellent and most definitely achievable. Talk about Local attended the day with their very own stall to help promote a blog that I set up for Speke called Speak you Mind. this went down a treat and the residents had informal chats and expressed their thoughts and ideas on the blog which exactly what I wanted to achieve with it so I was really happy. I just hope that they take ownership of it and use it to their advantage because having an online presence can prove to be very powerful.


So  moving on from the Manchester huddle and then Neighbours Day we thought  ‘this is it’ we definitely know where we are going with this and our perspective on the prize challenge had changed, we were no longer thinking with the ‘grants head’ and continued building relations with the people of Speke arranging workshops and drop in sessions. Then Katherine from NCVO came to visit to ensure that we were comfortable with the milestones we had set for the challenge and yet again things got thrashed out changed. That’s the one thing that i have learned about the NESTA Challenge it truly is one of a kind and because of this and the fact that there are no right or wrong ways of doing it we will continue to change and adapt. I suppose  exactly what NESTA would like though is for people to make mistakes, learn and develop it’s what makes the Prize Challenge so exciting.

So with all that we have learned over the past couple of weeks we have put together a very BUSY timeline with Katherine and are excited for the next couple of months getting the project off the ground and helping people in Speke.

Our meeting with Katherine did however throw up some really crucial issues that we have had with the challenge like the fact that I am actually only assigned to the NESTA challenge one day a week which is just not possible and therefore it was suggested by Katherine that we appeal to NESTA to put in a variation, whereby I will then be able to work three days with the challenge, improving our chances of making this challenge a success, so fingers crossed NESTA agree and i can really throw myself into things.

I also attended our CFN National Conference last week which was held in Newcastle, it was a brilliant few days and the Neighbourhood challenge played a big part in the sessions which was massively exciting for me being a part of it. I also me Phillip Colligan from NESTA who gave some really inspirational talks at one of the sessions I attended, it made me even more passionate (if that’s even possible) and felt really inspired. Me and Nicky were asked along with Surrey Community Foundation to take part in a session about the neighbourhood challenge which was brilliant, even though we were all slightly tender from the night before and it was the last day of the 3 day conference people who attended were really interested and supportive.  So with all of whats been happening over the past couple of weeks and I am feeling more ready than ever to take on the challenge and ensure that I do it justice. 

 So there you have it, that’s been the highlights of the past couple of months, it’s truly been exciting and full of innovation. With us developing new ways of learning and also new ways of working. Workshops full of inspiration and people of Speke showing me glimmers of enthusiasm I think the next few months look to be just as exciting.


Neighbours Day Launch


Hi Everyone, just to give you an update on our progress. We are officially launching the ‘ Neighbourhood Challenge’ on the Friday 3rd June with the help of SLH and their Neighbours day.

The day looks to be a huge success with last years event bringing in around 3500 people from in and around Speke to participate in activities.

There are around 75 stalls already booked to attend on the day, which will be made up of local service providers, community members and activities. There is also going to be a fun fair, competitions and a ‘SLH Dragons Den’ themed bid, whereby community groups/individuals can propose projects and the finalists can win up to £500.00.

We will attending on the day, advising people on the challenge and encouraging community member to come forward with ideas. There has already been a few suggestions from community groups coming forward and their ideas are fantastic, so hopefully the challenge will be a huge success and draw in masses of fabulous ideas!!

We are really excited about getting this project off the ground and finding all of the excellent groups and/or individuals that are making Speke a better place to live.

I will keep you posted ont he days event and everything inbetween!!

For those of you that might like to attend it will be held at:

Parklands, Conleach Road, Speke, Liverpool, L24 0TY from 12pm till 4pm.

Impressed by Speke!

With just a bit of enthusiasm, these pockets of land can be transformed!

On a recent visit to SLH (South Liverpool Housing) I asked if they would mind showing me around the area.

I took along my camera and ended up with some amazing pictures. Speke has great history and some really beautiful areas. You can see the efforts made by some of the residents to make a difference and we hope to build on this.

My pictures are a far cry from the images you see in the news and actually most people who visit Speke tend to do so only for shopping, travelling or work so most of its beauty goes unnoticed.

Old Speke



We are currently still in the consultation period with the Neighbourhood Challenge, but we are really excited for the launch on ‘Speke’s European Neighbours Day’ on the 3rd June. We are hoping to get some really good projects from the event and fingers crossed spark a bit of enthusiasm around the challenge. There should be around 2000 people attending the event so it is definitely the perfect time to showcase the Neighbourhood Challenge.

Anyway, I will keep you all posted on our progress!!




13 April, 2011 08:44

Hi Everyone I’m Sophie Saunders and I will be the project co-ordinator for the Neighbourhood Challenge in Speke, this is my first attempt at our blog, so please bear with me!

Currently it is all systems go, we have been in information overload trying to ensure that we get the most out this challenge! The challenge was officially handed over to me on the 1st of April with LTS of reading and research to do, but I am getting there and I have been fortunate to have met a few of the other particpants in the challenge and our support team from NCVO who were lovely and really eased my nerves (thank you) also I have been to meet our partners in the project, SLH (South Liverpool Housing) who have been amazing.

Last Wednesday I adoned my flat shoes and a high visable jacket and off i went with the team at SLH on their walkabout Wednesday, this happens on the first Wednesday of every month and every member of staff right from supporting officers to the chief executive get out there in the community and make their presence known. This was a fascinating experience for me and showed that their staff have a real passion for making Speke ‘the place to be’ and are driven in an attempt to make Speke a thriving community. With this enthusiasm and support I am sure that we can bring the challenge on leaps and bounds in Speke and I for one am really looking forward to the official launch of the challenge. The Neighbourhood Challenge is very much a learning experiment for all involved and for the area of Speke it could be potentially a ray of hope, hope that one day the community that was once there can be sparked back to life.

Speak Out Speke!

Welcome to Speak out Speke!

The Community Foundation for Merseyside is really excited to be part of NESTA’s Neighbourhood Challenge, and is particularly looking forward to working in the area of Speke.

We will be launching the Neighbourhood Challenge in Speke in the next couple of months but in the meantime we are busy planning exciting things with our partners South Liverpool Housing. We can’t wait to get to know community groups that are already working within the local community, as well as local people who may want to get more involved with the local community.

The Neighbourhood Challenge is about local people achieving things in their own community and we will be working with South Liverpool Housing to make sure that everyone in Speke gets a chance to be involved.

NESTA and the Big Lottery Fund have generously provided funding for the Neighbourhood Challenge and we are going to work hard to make sure that the Neighbourhood Challenge is a big success in Speke, both in the short-term and long-term.

Watch this space for further developments!

Here’s the first official picture of us!