Most Beestonian’s will recognise the logo for ‘Let’s Go to Beeston’ which was previously part of the Beeston BID campaign, and ran from 2010 – 2015. The management of the website is now being taken over by Beeston Community Resource (BCR) which manages Middle Street Resource Centre.
The handover officially took place at the resource centre on October 5, and the Let’s Go to Beeston site and related social media are all in the very capable hands of a group of volunteers at Middle Street.
LGTB used to receive funding but is now a charitable free service and is supported by Voluntary Action Beeston and Citizen’s Advice Bureau. Previously, the focus was very much on the centre of Beeston but now they are keen to involve the wider community, especially with the recently opened Canalside Heritage Centre in Beeston Rylands.
The new partnership is ideal, and is providing not only the volunteers with something to put their skills to good use, but also to raise the profile of LGTB again and further benefit Beeston as a town and as a community.
There are over 70+ volunteers at Middle Street, which began life as a Nottinghamshire County Council Day Centre for people affected by mental health issues. Today, the centre is still supportive of people with mental health issues, and a lot of the volunteers have experienced and still experience such issues as part of their everyday lives.
By teaming up with Let’s Go to Beeston, it gives the volunteers the opportunity to put their skills into practice and give them something to work on which benefits them and the community of Beeston. As the management is mainly web and social media based, those with IT skills such as Karen will be able to contribute plenty to the online presence.
Karen spoke at the launch about the relationship between mental health and the online world, particularly the impacts of social media. She pointed out that adults who don’t use the internet can become socially excluded, so becoming familiar with IT is important for communication. Despite the negativity that can arise from being on social media, she emphasises that “it’s about how human beings use [IT and social media].”
Karen will be part of the admin team for the website, and will work to “develop friendlier, kinder social media” as well as making sure that the website becomes a resource that is “run by the community for the community.”
Colin, another volunteer, has been supporting Middle Street for 2 years now. “It’s a fantastic space for people to come, talk, get support and learn,” he says. “I’m really passionate about Beeston.” He is currently studying computing and system development which has come in handy while working on the Let’s Go to Beeston website and he hopes that it will “help people see all the good things that are going on and showcase the very best of Beeston.”
Although the website is still a work in progress, there are already plenty of resources on there such as a community section, Beeston News and a business directory which needs the help of local people to keep it up to date as new businesses come into the town, and others leave. This community input is something that the team are keen to incorporate. Colin calls for local photographers to send in their photos of Beeston to contribute to the website and celebrate Beeston in the most visual way possible. As well as this, he wants residents to let them know what your Beeston news is, and if you’ve got an event there will soon be a dedicated events calendar so people know what’s going on.
Linda Lally was also in attendance at the launch, and says: “My knowledge of Beeston and Let’s Go to Beeston comes from previous involvement. When Steph [Marketing Manager at NET] came to see us there was a good opportunity for Middle Street, for people, and volunteers. I will use my expertise to engage with volunteers to give them confidence and self-esteem.”
There are also a few other developments arising from the re-launch of the website, which wants to take advantage of the 40,000 people who continued to engage with the site last year. The website and its ethos is ‘worth preserving’ and is a platform which can help in terms of submitting proposals for new things around the town, and is a good place to share points about what the community think Beeston could benefit from having or doing.
They’ve got a newsletter which can be found at Middle Street, which is the place to go for anyone who wants to talk with the volunteers working on the site. The next two weeks will see the centre hosting various events for Mental Health Awareness Weeks, and they’ll have an open day next Monday from 2-7pm, which people are encouraged to attend and get involved with.
All in all, the Let’s Go to Beeston website can only be a positive thing for the town and the volunteers working to make it the best it can be, and to provide an online space for residents of all ages and backgrounds to keep up to date with what’s happening.
You can visit the website at: http://www.letsgotobeeston.co.uk/