A community mobilises
Skelton Villages Civic Pride was formed in 2011 by local residents who recognised the need for improvements to be carried out to the environment of the four Skelton villages (i.e. Skelton-in-Cleveland, Skelton Green, New Skelton and North Skelton). Once formed, this committed group were successful in raising funds and sourcing small grants to provide seating, planting barrels and pole-mounted planters along the two-mile length of the village’s main street.
The next steps saw weekly fund-raising coffee mornings established in the Civic Hall and the establishing of the “Sponsorship” scheme for the barrels and planters. This enabled the funding of the annual purchase of plants, the watering, and the ongoing maintenance by volunteers. 2012 saw the fruits of their labours realised with the first annual summer planting.
Their sights were now turned towards the more ambitious target of major physical improvement in the High Street. The Heritage Lottery Fund’s Townscape Heritage programme was an obvious source of potential help. An unsuccessful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund, in 2013, did not dampen their enthusiasm.
With the aid of a seed grant from the then Tees Valley Rural Community Council and technical support from Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, a new bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund was submitted in August 2014. This was a “Round 1” bid to the Townscape Heritage programme. A development grant of £69,200 was approved by the Heritage Lottery Fund in February 2015, allowing Skelton Villages Civic Pride and its partners to rent a shop on the High Street, employ a project manager and a range of specialist consultants, and develop a detailed proposal for the High Street, together with a range of supporting activities.
This Round 2 proposal was submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund in March 2016. The proposal was accepted in June 2016. The award from Heritage Lottery Fund is for £952,200 out of a total cost of £1.374 million. Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council are contributing over £271,000. Skelton Villages Civic Pride, Skelton and Gilling Estates, Skelton and Brotton Parish Council, and local businesses are contributing the balance.
Formal “Permission to Start” was given by the Heritage Lottery Fund on 29th July 2016.
Implementing the project
We are implementing the project through a Partnership. Skelton Villages Civic Pride as the community group in Skelton which originated the project will continue to provide the “Community Lead”. This will be the means by which line management will be achieved for the employed staff of the project. The group has itself raised a significant match funding contribution to the project out of proportion to its size.
Our partners & their roles:
- Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council: The Council is providing a significant match funding contribution to the project. It will also act to “Cashflow” the project; i.e. it will meet the costs of the project initially until funds are drawn down either from the Heritage Lottery Fund or from the various match funders supporting the project. The Council will also act as “Accountable Body”. This gives the necessary assurance of financial probity to the Heritage Lottery funding. Finally the Council is providing a range of technical support and services to aid the project, including planning, highways, legal and procurement services.
- Tees Valley Rural Action (previously Tees Valley Rural Community Council): TVRA provides two essential roles for the project. Firstly they employ the paid, professional staff, providing all necessary payroll and staff support services. Secondly they provide the operational base for the project by both leasing office space on the High Street and by providing the necessary supporting offices services and equipment. All costs met by TVRA will be re-charged to the project.
- Skelton & Brotton Parish Council: The Parish Council will provide three key roles for the project. Firstly, the Parish Council owns and operates the Skelton Civic Hall and through this vehicle will provide the venue for the meetings of the Project Partnership Board. Secondly, the Chair of the Parish Council currently chairs the Partnership Board (subject to annual election), thus underlining the local roots of the project. Thirdly, the Parish Council will provide the venue for Skelton Villages Civic Pride to meet and fundraise.
Our other partners listed below are drawn from the local community and bring particular skills and interests to bear for the benefit of the Project:
- The Skelton & Gilling Estate: This is centred on the historic Skelton Castle and is one of the largest land ownerships in the area. It owns significant parts of the four villages of Skelton.
- All Saints Church: Not just the building on the High Street but also the congregation which it serves. This Church of England parish also contains the iconic old All Saints church which provides such a key townscape feature in the project.
- Skelton Methodist Community Church: Previously known as the West End Methodist Church, this congregation downsized its property in late-2013 by taking over the ex-Village Hall at Skelton Green.
- Skelton History Group: Formed in 2012 by members of the local community, it exists to research and promote a better understanding of the history and heritage of our villages. This it does through exhibitions, and heritage-themed walks and talks.
- Representation from the Business Community of the High Street.
- Representation from local residents
How we make decisions
Primary management of the project is done through the vehicle of the Skelton Townscape Heritage Project Partnership Board. The Partnership Board was originally formed to oversee the development phase of the project, and now continues to oversee the delivery of the project. The Board is made up of members drawn from all the partners. Click the thumbnail to open the image as a PDF.
The Board’s role is to provide strategic direction for the delivery of the project in a manner consistent with requirements of the Heritage Lottery Fund. It’s detailed responsibilities include:
- Overseeing the delivery of the project at a strategic level
- Setting the objectives for the Community Lead and, through him, the project manager
- Approving overall budgets
- Approving consultant briefs
- Reviewing proposed contracts
Nuts and Bolts
The project manager is our only full time member of staff and is responsible for getting the project delivered.
Day-to-day management will be achieved through a Project Management Team which will help co-ordinate the delivery of the project. The team will comprise the Tees Valley Rural Community Council Chief Executive, the Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council Masterplan Delivery Officer, Skelton Villages Civic Pride’s Community Lead and the project manager. It will support the Community Lead in acting as the line manager for the project manager.
All our procurement, be it for consultants or contractors, will be undertaken using the Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council’s Commissioning & Procurement Service. Competitive quotations will be obtained for any spending over £10,000. Anything costing over £50,000 will be competitively tendered. We will be accounting to the Heritage Lottery Fund for all these processes and spending.
The project’s consultants are Southern Green (for the public realm work), Harris Irwin (for building design), Identity Consult (for costings), Tees Archaeology (for Activity 1 – Boroughgate, Activity 3 – Recorded memories and Activity 4 – Snapshot in time). The Heritage Lottery Fund also require us to appoint an independent evaluator to give them an assessment of the project, both during delivery and on completion. Geonomics are our evaluators.