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5 Parks Partnership


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The 5 Parks Partnership

The Partnership was formed in November of 1999 the Partnership began from the Southfield & Gresham Community Futures Workshops, which were held at two-week intervals between 30th October & 12th December 1997.  The workshops were sponsored by Middlesborough Borough Council (MBC).  The process was based on workshops where invitations were given to a broad section of the Community who have an interest in, concern for and/or a responsibility to the area, these groups could be broadly classified as:

a) Local Resident
b) Public Sector Representatives
c) Private Sector Representatives
d) Church and Voluntary Sector Representatives.

The workshops where based on the idea that the participants, as a group, could develop a common understanding of the area and, together, recognise the strengths and weaknesses and begin to identify the key issues.  This work lead to the formation of a practical strategy to address the issues, with the emphasis on the development of Partnership

KEY FACTORS of the coming together of the Partnership

It was recognised by local people that there was a need to build trust and understanding between residents and, for example, the local authority.  This would encourage local residents to become more involved in their area with a clear knowledge of the powers, responsibilities and constraints of the key agencies operating in the area.  It was felt more information about local activities would facilitate local trust and involvement.

It was recognised that, in order for resources to be attached to the area and for local people to have a say in the control of future developments, it was crucial for residents to become involved with activities in the area

A good deal of thought was given to the issue of boundaries.  It was agreed that the boundaries for the electoral wards of Southfield & Gresham should be as loosely defined as possible, be as flexible as possible and include as many facilities as possible.

It was noted Southfield & Gresham lagged behind other areas of  Middlesbrough in terms of input of resources.  It was agreed that work was needed to deal with this imbalance.

Local residents felt strongly about the low quality of housing in the area.  This was particularly the case with private rented housing stock it was considered that landlords were not concerned with the upkeep of their properties.  It was noted that the wards of Southfield & Gresham were quite different in terms of housing tenure and that the percentage of houses deemed to be unfit in the two wards was of concern.

Participants felt that there needed to be more attention given to the cleanliness of the area.

The Citizens Advice Bureau, during the workshops pointed out that a high percentage of local residents used CAB services.

The issue of working women who were very visible on the streets concerned local people.

Key strengths of the area were agreed to be the fact that schools and community facilities were of a high quality and the fact that transport and access to the town centre was good.

The high level of unemployment and percentage of people on long term sick were seen to be a key weakness in the area.

The greatest threat in the area was seen to be crime, linked to drugs and vice.

Local Development Strategy

The analysis and discussion in the workshops led to the emergence of a vision statement, the main action areas were:

A.Employment and Training.
E.Ways to involve young people.
F.Scrutiny of Council Services.
G.Development of a Local Partnership

Extracts taken from Southfield & Gresham Community Workshops 1997

The only one of the above which has become fact is Development of a Local Partnership (5 Parks Partnership) this through the struggle of a few who have recognised every one else's fears and are trying their hardest to redress them!

The Resident Led Board of The 5 Parks Partnership

Chair, Mavis Routledge, Deputy Chair, Marino Danilowicz, Secretary, Beryl Lappin, Michael Huck, Paul Spencerley, Heather Murray, Magerate Lynch, Mavis Arnold, Javid Ismail

Our Partners/Co-Opted Members

Dave Eagle, Teesside University, Community Informatics Research & Applications Unit (C.I.R.A.)

Ted Reeves, Huntsman-Tioxide Ltd. Human Resourses, Billingham

Middlesbrough Bourough Council, (MBC)

Carol Zagrovic, Middlesbrough Activity and Resource Centre (M@RC)


The following Sub Groups of the Partnership have achieved: 

Health Group led by Yvonne Marshall

Current aim, to initiate development of a befriending service for local adults who have learning difficulties.

Progress of project

Local and national research regarding viability of project completed

Project in partnership with national charity, United response, who have agreed to manage the befriending service

Funding proposals have been developed.

Applications for funding have accepted for Joint Finance and SRB5.

Costing underway for project to commence in September 1999

Future plans

To develop and undertake a health and well being survey of  the 5 Parks Partnership area in conjunction with the Partnerships Sub Groups.

Youth Group led by M@RC Middlesbrough Activity Resource Centre

The project was initiated to provide an information, advice and activities centre in recognition of the needs of socially disadvantaged young people.  The project is registed with the national Youth Agency’s Information Shop Initiative to provide information for young people, the project is a Registered Charity and Company Limited By Guarantee.  The centre provides an informal space for young people to develop activities.  A wide range of information and advice is easily accessible and computer terminals are available including access to the Internet.  New technology is used creatively and young people have designed their own web-site and are currently involved in the design of a Middlesbrough wide youth Information Web-site in partnership with the local authority.  The Youth Group members have designed The 5 Parks Partnerships Letterhead and Logo.  Everyone should visit the M@RC web site see what good work they do, see what young people can accomplish, possibly in the near future the Youth Group may design a site for the Partnership.

Environment Group Southfield and Gresham Environment (SAGE) was led by Peter Loker former Assistant Director, of Public Protection & Planning (MBC).

On 13 November 1998 Peter Loker wrote, “I’m sure environmental issues will remain extremely important especially with Central Governments determination that Councils must work more closely with their communities”.  The following is a summery of SAGE’s achievements in trying to address the littering problem in the area.

Has influenced the change to fixed days for rubbish to be collected.

Worked to achieve co-ordination between refuse collection and street cleaning.

Liased with the wider community on how to achieve improvements in street cleanliness.

Influenced the council’s adoption of the law to control dog fouling.

Raised public awareness of council services and what residents can do to help keep the area clean.

Future actions set in progress are to

Leaflet the Southfield and Gresham Council area about the proposed actions on fixed penalties for rubbish dumping.

Provide a supplementary, more detailed advisory leaflet.

Link to local media publicity

Set a start date for the use of fixed penalties (who and how will enforcement happen?)

Monitor the effectiveness of these actions (e.g. community survey, cleanliness survey).

Offer rewards for information leading to the prosecution of bag splitters.


“An area to be proud of”

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