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The Plater Project

The Plater Project

St. Antony's Centre was awarded a Plater Trust grant in August 2010 to develop a learning led, community building project, targeting isolated and marginalised people in Lancashire. The Plater Project was developed and is based on the principles of Catholic and Christian social teaching.

 The project is aimed at learners over 19 years old who are excluded or marginalised from education and the Centre has commenced Numeracy & Literacy / Skills for Life Courses, Response to Redundancy and Information & Communications Technology classes.  Alongside these courses, the ACT Centre will use the Plater grant to deliver a Community Leadership program to build the knowledge and skills of local people to serve and support their own community.  The Project is inclusive to non-parishioners, other Faith Groups and non-Faith Groups in the Hyndburn Community.

The project itself has three main aims, and these are:

*To give people a chance to improve their lives through learning

*To strengthen and build new bonds in our parish, neighbouring parishes and the wider community through new learning opportunities.

*To create and grow a team of volunteer leaders and helpers to help make positive changes in the community.

The project developed a set of learning led, community-building projects in the parishes and these are owned, run and sustained by the Parishioners.  These projects were developed in co-operation with our Accrington learning centre using the funding provided by the Plater Trust. 

Through a conversation and listening exercise with parishioners in the six parishes in Hyndburn, we asked people what would make a difference to their community. The process of engaging 14 worship groups took six weeks and their ideas were discussed at an open meeting attended by 35 volunteers. Over 30 ideas were discussed and later analysed in detail by the project team.

Three main themes emerged- money matters, youth matters and social inclusion. The views of the community were reflected back to the volunteers who formed three workgroups, each building projects based on one of the themes. The workgroups meet regularly and all of the volunteers meet once a month to share progress.

For the first time, the parishes are interacting on social issues that affect their wider community and not just their individual parishes.  St. Antony's Centre employed two project workers who are engaged in training disadvantaged learners and the unemployed. We are also helping to develop a structure with the community for them to build upon, by supplying IT skills and the capability to create an inter parish online network. This will aid communications and the sharing of information between the parishes. Supporting the project are the six parish priests who have also shared their ideas and hopes for the Hyndburn area. 

In the next few months we hope to see sustainable projects emerging from the foundational work that has been occurring.