A NEW scheme to help improve the lives of people living on Droitwich’s Westlands estate has been launched.
Moving Forward, made possible thanks to £359,000 from the National Lottery Communities Fund, will run for three years and see staff and volunteers based at the Westlands Community Hall three-days-a-week to offer the estate’s residents a helping hand.
The scheme has been created as part of a link-up between the Droitwich CVS and the Westlands Community Association which runs the hall.
The Westlands Forum will also be re-established to encourage new groups to set up at the hall which has been revamped to make it a focal point for everyone living on the estate.
It follows a consultation with those living on the Westlands to ask them what they would like to help them ‘move forward’ in their lives.
A Westlands Residents’ Group set up a few months ago will meet on the first Tuesday of the month to discuss the project and the wider needs of the estate including issues such as speeding, litter and green spaces.
Courses will be run by the CVS at the community hall to help people aim, aspire and achieve to better themselves and get them work-ready.
Project leader Lynne Duffy said she hoped people would take up the chances being offered as they were being delivered on their doorstep.
“We want people to tell us what they want to move their lives forward and we will help them get it.”
This will complement the courses available.
Some will also be trained to become active in the community so they can run and manage their own financially sustainable projects for people on the estate.
Tonia Enderbury from Droitwich CVS said: “We have been working with the community and local residents to see what was needed and what we could help with.
“It has been a long time coming and we’re really excited about it.”
Lynne added: “We have all seen the negative images of Westlands in the press but this is a place in Droitwich with so much community spirit.
“There are good things happening here and we want to get those stories out there.”
Before the speeches there was also a performance from Westlands First School pupils who sang inspirational songs We Are the World and A Million Dreams (sound file below).
Mid Worcestershire MP Nigel Huddleston, Droitwich Mayor Coun Bill Moy, councillors and other interested parties also attended.
Coun Moy said: “I can appreciate everything being done on the project and I want to say a big thank you to everyone involved.
“I left school with no qualifications and if it wasn’t for support from family, friends and community-spirited people I would not be where I am today.”
Mr Huddleston spoke about the importance of ‘creating a level playing field’ and giving everyone the best possible life chances, regardless of their age, status or background.
Staff will be at Westlands Community Hall from 9.30am to 2.30pm on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Wychavon District Council’s Droitwich West Project concludes next year and it is hoped this scheme will build on the good work started by the authority.