West End Morecambe Big Local


WEM-Projects and WorkWEM activity supported with funding (updated November 2022)

Our current projects list here gives the best summary of what we are up to right now.

Our new Action Plan also includes a longer summary of work carried out between 2018 and
2022. The details on projects are given below. For full project details, including outputs, please see our Action Plan

   Mental Health Work

As it stands there are multiple local and district partners who are involved in mental health activity in the West End. The positive contribution they make is unquestionable and their good work exists despite a long-term imbalance between local needs and the resources or funding available to meet for them. However, there are factors which reduce the effectiveness of collective work. Trust between different sectors is stretched. Strategies for activity are uncoordinated and agendas can be skewed by funding interests of particular organisations. Evidence of different needs are patchy, and the outcome of activity is sometimes indistinguishable from general community work. Many of these issues are acknowledged privately but rarely feature in shared conversations about working together. With so many groups delivering ‘mental health’ activity the greatest frustration is the lack of any common measure of need or outcomes. Our project aims to deliver direct mental health activity but also attempts to address some of these other points in some way. WEM has had extensive local discussions on this theme. In terms of direct support to services there is clear evidence to suggest that children and young people are a critical group in terms of current need. WEM has already begun linking with potential partners, including the local NHS.

Mental Health Work Budget £50,000
Community Health      
Goal: Supporting community mental health and improved delivery

   West End Online

We will develop a medium / longer term commission that targets individuals who are socially excluded or who have lagged behind in digital skills. The most significant issue is how to provide meaningful support such as training and assistance in a way that is welcoming and reduces the anxiety of general digital / education settings. The work of the national Good Things Foundation offers examples to look at. Any commission will likely need to bring a local organisation together with a strategic partner who can offer wider digital skills. Together they will endeavour to draw in other support and funding to expand the potential that any WEM investment offers.

Activity needs to be as open as possible but necessarily directs key opportunities to those most in need in a manner that is evidenced based and meaningful.  It is therefore essential to clearly define target groups and avoid generic definitions such as ‘helping all the community’. There is currently a very limited access to digital skills or services through local groups and what does exist is piecemeal and uncoordinated. WEM would incentivise this in a limited way as part of any wider commission if groups will meaningfully commit to some form of shared public service. We will build on our previous school initiative and expand where possible on opportunities for families as well as the schools as venues for wider community use. 

We will also target mainstream services and higher education to link and encourage more take up of existing resources such as IT training through the schools, colleges or university and encourage them to find ways to enhance the resources and offers available to people of the West End. A secondary aspect of this project already started is developing a ‘West End Online’ website which draws together all the shops, groups and community resources within the area and provides both a one stop directory but also collectively supports scores of local groups and businesses in promoting what they offer.

“West End Online” Budget £40,000
Economy Education      
Goal: Tackling issues related to digital social exclusion in the West end

   Stanleys Community Centre

Stanleys Community Centre is the West End’s only independent community centre not aligned to a particular strand of work (such as the arts) or host organisation (such as a church). It has a track record of meeting local needs, in particular for members of the community experiencing hardships of one form or another. It has recently gained charitable status and has links with many local services including the local medical group. In 2019 WEM agreed to support Stanleys with £20k as part of its establishment as a charity and the foundation as a community hub. WEM is keen to see Stanleys thrive, but it cannot endlessly offer project by project support and now plans something more in line with our aim to support things strategically. 

We are now working to acquire Stanleys centre for long term ownership in the community. In simple terms this is economically sound as annual rent over a decade comes to well over a £100k but the reasons are not financial alone. It means Stanleys group can justify investment in refurbishing the property, which is currently in a poor state of repair. An external consultant has been brought in to establish how this work might proceed and ensure due diligence is met in order to meet Big Local’s national criteria.

This strategic purchase of a property is the only example raised by any West End community organisation other than Centenary House but due to WEM’s status we would be unable to own the building ourselves so a primary question will be who will hold it in trust on behalf of the community. Initial conversations suggested there would be several ways this could happen and whilst there are many questions to resolve most appear to be about how rather than if it can be done. Rough costings have been worked up but whilst the budget earmarked is significant it also underwrites completion on a project we believe will attract close to equal match funding when finished.

Stanleys Community Centre Budget £150,000
Community Health Economy Education Place
Goal: Taking a property into permanent community ownership

  Food Poverty Project Wraparound

The success of Eggcup in fulfilling WEM’s aspiration on a project tackling the issue of food poverty has meant we wish to consider ways in which the service can be further sustained or enhanced. Talking with various partners has also made it clear that now is the time to engage with other related issues such as fuel poverty and home finances. We will therefore be enhancing our previous support and aiming to link activity with these other issues. Current plans are considering member and volunteer support with the process of exploration, finding out about members, what they want and need, and what they can offer. Secondly to support the creation of a three-year intensive, one-to-one support project to help people furthest from the labor market move closer to employment or other fulfilling activity.

Food Poverty Project Wraparound Budget £18,000
Community Health Economy    
Goal: Expanding on successful Food Club shop

  Family Mentoring support scheme

Our positive partnership with Eggcup on the food club shop project has led to shared ideas for a bold project changing the culture of benefits and the ‘charity’ offered to families living with issues related to poverty. We are proposing to carry out a pilot project for a direct support scheme, where help goes directly to the family in need, and they work with an assistant who supports participants and acts as adviser. We know that numerous stop-gap interventions in people’s lives have limited impact in the long-term.

We believe a person-centred approach (which takes the individual and their situation and then puts them in the centre of decision making) will offer at least the same level of impact, and potentially improve on it. Eggcup would be the trusted partner working on an initial scoping exercise with WEM. Other key organisations and agencies would then be invited to invest in the project and learn from its activity. The initiative will work with around five to ten local families, and we envisage employing one full time peripatetic advisor. We are confident this project will also raise further match funds from other parties. After scoping, the mainstay of the project would last one year. In some ways this concept is taking Big Local’s ‘hyper local’ philosophy to its ultimate configuration, by empowering individuals and families to make their own decisions and then assisting them on the journey they have chosen to endorse. 

Family mentoring & direct support scheme Budget £52,000
Community Health Economy    
Goal: Pilot project looking at empowering families in poverty


WEM has spent many months discussing and sharing ideas related to housing and recognise our ability to create significant change on this theme is constrained. We recognise the quality and social balance of housing plays a fundamental part in the social fabric of our community in terms of well-being, health and economy of the West End so we therefore aim to.

  • Improve relationships between sectors involved in housing 
  • Increase engagement of residents in housing decisions
  • Raise overall housing standards in the West End

Some local partners are keen to focus on developing a social housing portfolio, WEM instead will focus on influencing change and attempting to improve relationships between sectors – particularly between different types of tenants and between tenants and landlords. 

Housing Budget £20,000
Community Economy Place    
Goal: Contributing to underlying housing issues and relationships

  Community Networking and Unity

Experience over the past four years has shown that while there are many local community groups and organisations working in the West End there is a disparity in the levels of personal and organisational capacity. Similarly, some residents looking to enact change within their community have the experience and skills to be proactive while others having passion and commitment but no capacity to even begin. Local groups, with the best of intentions, tend to be focussed inwards, reluctant to share knowledge, skills, or capacity with other like groups. This is in part because of limited resources but also because of competition over funds and entrenched views on shared work. 

The most significant impact of this on the community is the lack of strategic planning and work between different groups, despite many working with the same residents and nearly all dealing with interconnected issues. WEM has made unsuccessful attempts to encourage more strategic working locally so it will now seek alternative ways to encourage change. Part of this work will link in closely with the activity of the local Lancaster CVS and networking in the West End. Capacity building will look at individuals within the voluntary sector as well as empowering residents looking to address issues within their community. We aim to draw in closer ties with the local College and University as well as key third sector partners who are committed to meaningful sharing of skills and capacity. WEM is in related discussions with some higher education establishments about having greater presence in West End.

One difficult realisation we have had to come to terms with is that the West End is far from a single unified community. Having experienced decades of neglect and deprivation the collective and cohesive aspects of ‘community’ have been steadily eroded. There are elements of the community that live in quiet parallel to each other. Some people are proud of the West End, while others just live here and nothing more. Local organisations seek to build a positive sense of community through outreach, aspirational creative work, and events, but there is limited evaluation on what strategic impact or legacy is achieved. There remains a pervasive sense of the West End being done to, which is compounded by landowners (often living far away) with derelict and dilapidated property, and the legacy of short term and inconsistent development where change is often temporary, incongruent, and sometimes even regressive.

Community Networking & Unity project Budget £58,000
Community Education Place    
Goal: Potential to support small strategic initiatives

One specific outcome under this initiative then, is to pilot a bespoke community unity project. Examples from elsewhere include street cleaning parties and community gardening projects. The key to any such an initiative is that it is meaningfully shared by groups in the area and is less delivered to residents but more actively involves them in delivery. 

   Children’s Environmental project

Children up to twelve years old make up roughly 17% of the West End population. More progressive community activity would regard this large part of the community as having an important voice in shaping improvements to the community and that their direct views and choices should be taken onboard and valued. WEM initiated an innovative Children’s Forum project in 2019 where local issues were discussed by a representative group of young children from the West End. This initiative was much delayed by both matters being dealt with in WEM and schools then having to cope with the pandemic. We were committed to expanding on the engagement of children in decision making on a real time project and that will now focus on a collection of points raised by the children under a heading of Environment. 

The project we will carry out includes a feasibility study on the concept of an environment ‘dome’ (taken literally or conceptually) shared by both primary schools in the West End. This project has a lot of detail to work through but already has a great deal of shared interest from key partners and tentative promises of additional funding. This project could form an excellent satellite project to the Eden North initiative but would meet an identified local need irrespective of that national venture.

Children’s Environmental Project Budget £30,000
Community Health Education Place  
Developing children’s environmental ideas into a physical project

   Celebrating community

Parts of the West End are blessed with a mixture of creative industry, both amateur and professional. This in part was the reason for the West End successfully accessing the Creative Civic Change program. Despite the value this brings there may be gaps between the social impact it brings to the West End beyond the value to the creative sector itself. 

As the area recovers from the pandemic there is also evidence to show a need to bring people together, through activity that meaningfully unites the community. We’ve set aside £50,000 to focus on this and may choose to expand on existing creative opportunities or consider alternative approaches to achieve our objectives. Then looking to fill in gaps not being covered by others and securing links to the social value of any work delivered. This may link with the ‘unity’ work we will deliver. Some ideas are already beginning to filter through consultation with the wider community.

Celebrating community Budget £50,000
Goal: Resident focussed creative activity that celebrates community

   Frontierland / Horizon Initiatives

There are some significant town wide initiatives which could impact heavily on the West End and its community, each raising both hopes but also concerns. Our timeline will not allow us to invest in these to any major degree, but WEM can play a role in helping shape work to better reflect local issues.

The Frontierland site is the empty brownfield location of the old theme park which has become almost emblematic of both the physically and emotionally challenges faced by the West End. Over decades this empty eyesore has cut directly into Morecambe’s seafront and left the West End separated from the town. 

The Council have recently acquired the site and hopes are now that something can finally be done to heal this wound. The question is what and, most importantly for WEM, how the process of redeveloping the site will involve local people. Previous history has seen even the best intentions of planners run aground in terms of consultation and the balance between meeting aspirations but being economically viable will be a hard one to reach. WEM is perfectly placed to help consult local people and has agreed to engage with the Council at the earliest possible stage on helping them with community discussions and adding value as a potential partner.

There are some other small irregular initiatives on the horizon, and the likelihood of others in the next four years all of which have some potential strategic benefits to the West End. One example is discussion over a new illuminations project along Morecambe front. Something WEM would like to encourage in terms of the West End front up to the Battery. Another discussion has been had around asking West End businesses (in general or along the front) if they wish to revisit joining Morecambe’s Business Improvement District (BID). The future of Eden North is not yet assured but if it is given the go ahead the impact on the West End could be significant both in positive terms such as employment and investment but also problems with house prices rising. There is real fear (and some initial evidence) that ‘gentrification’ could be a big issue. 

These and other unexpected new developments cannot be major WEM initiatives during the lifetime of Big Local, but we would like the opportunity to at least have a voice in shaping what these may do and leading on local consultation where possible.

Frontierland & Horizon initiatives Budget £22,000
Community Economy Place    
Goal: Influence and seed fund for future local development

   Spending Plan B

Conscious that significant spend has been earmarked to certain projects not yet finalised the partnership has also considered what might happen if for some unexpected reason the projects did not proceed. Depending on timescales there is some potential that the outcomes of these, and other projects as well, could be transferred to alternative providers. However, WEM ultimately has to consider spend and our initial ‘plan B’ approach is to extend existing projects or meet new identified needs. 

There are a number of other unlisted projects and initiatives which WEM is aware of. None of these have been highlighted in our plan but there is again some potential to develop these within the timeframe of this plan if that was necessary. Commitment and spend milestones on the bigger projects will be monitored regularly so the partnership can implement change as needed. Whatever the outcome our objective is to deliver solid meaningful activity but also to fully commit our spending within the Big Local timeframe. The Fuel Poverty project is an example of this which has recently been added to the list of projects (October 2022) with an expected spend of £30,000. 

Fuel Poverty Project  Budget £30,000
Community Health Economy Education  
Goal: Supporting residents and community

Previous activity has included:
2020 and 2021 during the pandemic:
• Covid Emergency fund, £10,000 toward local West End organisations
• School Education Packs for primary schools £7,000
• Food Poverty project, food club shop, £32,000
• Digital Poverty, computers in Schools £27,000
• Third sector mentoring, £1000
• Considerable resources were also invested in considering the Centenary House project

2018 – 2019 Community Chest grants supported:
• Out in the Bay, £500 toward Morecambe Pride website.
• Stanley’s Community Centre, £500 support toward a resident flu programme.
• Enable chronic illness group, £670 toward day trip for grieving members.
• Friends of the Alhambra & Carleton Suite, £500 for a community Christmas event.
• West End Primary School, £500 for a giant inflatable film screen and projector.
• Grace Ministries, £500 toward Hobby Hut.
• Bay Casting, £500 toward helping West End residents to join local casting agency.
• West End Impact, £500 to produce 3000 free ‘Help in Morecambe’ booklets.
• Home-Start Morecambe, £500 for training volunteers in safeguarding and first aid.
• Regent Park Studio, £500 toward a Horror Film Festival.
• Melting Pot, £140 toward a new premises development.
• West End Community Choir, £555 toward the group’s activities.
• More Music, £500 towards accessible chairs for ‘Seagull Cafe’ project.

2018 – 2019 Larger projects included:
• Partnership with Stanley’s Community Centre and Morecambe Bay Credit Union, £600 to
allow free Credit Union membership for 150 residents.
• Partnership with Friends of Regent’s Park and Lancaster Council for £20,000 matching
another £20,000 to ‘pocket park’ regeneration of parts of the park.
• Partnership with Stanley’s Community Centre for £20,000 toward a foundation project for
the new ‘hub’ centre and toward capacity building for the organisation.
• West End Primary, £2304 to support a giant whole school ‘theatre for all’ visit.
• More Together produced another community magazine in January 2019 although this was
supported with funding agreed back in 2017.

Across the year, the work of WEM, as well as projects supported, drew in approximately
£270,000 plus worth of additional funding and activity to the West End.

One of the challenges we faced in our first year was that some projects forgot to credit the
support West End Morecambe Big Local gave, so many local people didn’t even know that some of the things they saw or took part in were being funded by us. Here then are some of
the projects and activities West End Morecambe Big Local supported and funded previously,
showing the range from big to small; West End Festival 2017, West End Weekend 2016, Mini
Illuminations 2016, Red Rose Community Centre, West End Impact advice and guidance,
Shooting Stars nursery group, Bipolaroid photographer and Yorkshire Street Mural. Seven
grants toward improving house fronts, Out in the Bay LGBT, Crazy Cat charity shop, More
Together Magazine, Balmoral Community Allotment, Gardening tools for volunteers, Xeed,
Morecambe Fringe Festival, Make My Day Festival, Northern Angelz, Regent Park Studios,
Stanley’s Youth & Community Centre and groups, and Wise Up Workshops.