Last night I attended a meeting of Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet. One of the items under discussion was the allocation of section 106 funding.
Section 106 funding is money secured from developers when they carry out large scale developments withing the local authority boundaries. There have been a few in recent years, such as the housing on the site of the old Victoria Hospital.
Local community groups are invited to bid for this money in order to fund capital project (i.e. purchasing of physical items, such as equipment or erecting monuments). This time around, £220,000 was on offer and we had a hand in two applications.
Lichfield Community Radio Station
We’ve been working with Lichfield Cathedral School and Staffordshire University to put together a proposal for a community radio station for Lichfield. Sixth formers at the school would be professionally trained and would pass that training on to other students both at the Cathedral School and other schools in the district.
Students would then produce the radio station for which we would provide the online technology to present the station to local residents. Our hope is that the station will feature local people, politicians and issues – we have a lot of ideas!
We asked for £10,761 (out of the total project cost of £20,261) in order to purchase the necessary equipment, such as sound-proof mobile recording booth, microphones and audio desk. We are delighted that we have been allocated £8,000 for the project which will help us to get going this year. It’s not the full amount we wanted but we’re confident we can work with it and will be appealing to local people to help us achieve our goals.
Lichfield Blue Plaque Trail
You’ve probably come across blue plaques before – they’re often in places of significant historial interest. Strangely, despite it’s rich heritage, Lichfield doesn’t have any and we wanted to change that.
Instead of just putting blue plaques up though, we wanted to mix history with digital technology. Working with Lichfield District Council, local history blogger Kate of Lichfield Lore and wikipedia expert Andy Mabbett, we put together a proposal for a blue plaque trail using QRpedia.
The aim is to place small blue plaques around Lichfield which carry a QR code. A QR code is like a barcode that can be scanned by smartphones and connect people to websites. QRpedia is an implementation of QR codes that directs people to Wikipedia articles, in their language, on a particular topic.
As well as placing the QRpedia codes around Lichfield we’re hoping to engage with local historians to improve Wikipedia articles about Lichfield and provide a rich resource of historical information about the area.
We’re very happy that we’ve been allocated £3,000 for the project. It’s £500 short of our target but we’ll still be able to go ahead and do a lot with that £3k!
We’ll be meeting with our partners in these projects over the next month or so to arrange the projects and we’ll be blogging our progress right here so if you want to keep up to date, keep checking back!