Boston’s Million Pound Question: Group grapples with how to spend Lottery fund

Boston Big Local meeting at Black Sluice Cottage, Boston.
Boston Big Local meeting at Black Sluice Cottage, Boston.

The group tasked with dishing out Boston’s £1 million Lottery windfall is drawing up a plan for how to spend the cash and give the community a boost.

And they now need further input from you to decide where the cash from the Big Local pot should be spent and if you like the ideas submitted so far.

The Boston Big Local group met on Friday, where they agreed four key themes: sport, environment, economy and cross-cutting (ideas covering more than one category) – and some of the start-up ideas.

Big Local’s Ivan Annibal, who is helping the group set up, said: “We’re here today to start a plan and start trying to crystallise what’s been going on for a year now.”

He said the group is looking for ideas to benefit the community and also endorsed sustainable, money-making, initiatives. This could include ‘cottage industries’ selling tourist merchandise or renewable energies.

More than 180 ideas have been submitted by members of the public so far.

Members took the four themes and came up with two ‘quick wins’ – easily acheivable schemes – from each. They will look into whether these can be put into place and ask Bostonians if they want them.

It was also revealed during the meeting that, of the £19,000 start-up budget – which is extra to the Big Local million and used to help the group set up – £5135.24 has been spent. This includes facilitator Rachel Lauberts’ wages, a telephone and calls, stationary, printing, a bus trip and building a website for the group.

The group have also managed to win further financial support, with an £8,000 grant from Unltd from its StarPeople project, which gives money for social enterprises.

The group next meets on February 25 and is hoping to compile a ‘profile’ report about the town by March.

As part of the discussions at Friday’s meeting of the Big Local those present attempted to come up with some ‘quick wins’ under each theme.

These were things the team felt best able to make a start on, which could be put on paper to consult with the public on straight away.

○ Economy

Suggestions included helping Boston in Bloom by funding planters, and ‘quality plants’ to bring the town’s entry up to gold level standard.

They also included putting screens around the town promoting what’s going on and businesses in the area.

Some team members suggested looking at the website and an app, along with other marketing to promote town and what to do, where to go.

Pop-up shops would enable local businesses, crafts and students to promote work.

○ Social/sport

Taking over the Boston Belle to continue its use in the area after the owner has decided to sell.

○ Environmental

Under environmental wins ‘pop-up shop’ also came up again, Boston in Bloom was again discussed and utilising Central Park for an event was also suggested.

○ Cross-cutting

Utilising citizen journalism including using local radio stations and schools to promote Boston Big Local.

Mike Bartlett said there was space for a Playhouse on Wormgate.

○ Anyone who wants to suggest projects or send in feedback should email

More than 180 suggestions have been made to the committee, here are some of those submitted:

○ Sports facilities including climbing wall, a five-a-side football court, martial arts, roller or ice skating rink.

○ Investing in Central Park, including animals, ponds, family sports days and Party in the Park type events – various concerts and arts events were also suggested including a scarecrow festival, Polish artists and movies.

○ Utilising the waterways including water taxis, Festival of Lights, Venetian events with classical musicians on barges.

○ Help with highways issues including Market Place, roads and traffic congestion.

○ Invest in town’s history to promote tourism, including easily accessible tourist information, developing docks as tourist attraction and creating a statue to the Puritans.

○ Bringing communities together, helping with language support and cultural activities.