LCAS Quality Gold Award 2022

We are proud to announce that Charlton Kings Parish Council has recently received the Quality Gold Award as part of the national Local Council Award Scheme.

There are approximately 9,000 Town and Parish Councils in England and, as of October 2021, only 53 had achieved the Quality Gold Award.

Cllr Rob Williams, Chair of Charlton Kings Parish Council says:

"This achievement follows from the vision of our former Chair, the late Cllr Mike Palmer who, four years ago, led our Council on its improvement journey. In that time, 30 councillors have, unrewarded, contributed their knowledge, skills, and dedication to improving people's lives in our wonderful parish. Our thanks are due to them and to our amazing staff, without whose commitment good ideas cannot take root and flourish. We are proud to have achieved this award, but it has been the challenging journey towards it that has mattered and, from May, our next body of elected councillors will continue to serve our community in the best way they can."

Charlton Kings Parish Council intends to build on the work that it has already done in order to achieve the Quality Gold Award by continuing to develop a number of innovative projects to benefit the local community. These include CK Futures, the Parish Council's response to the climate emergency, CK Health Connect, which focuses on the health and well-being of residents and a wide range of community events including Summer, Autumn and Christmas Fayres.

The Quality Gold Award is the final achievement in a three-tier Award Scheme. It is independently assessed by the National Association of Local Councils (NALC), based on a range of evidence-based criteria. Receipt of the Award demonstrates that a Council is at the forefront of best practice and achieves excellence in governance, community leadership, and council development. This Award recognises the dedication and commitment of our councillors, the Parish Council's small team of staff, our many volunteers, and all our partners in the local community.

Cllr Felicity Parnham, Lead Councillor for CK Futures, says:

CK Futures is Charlton Kings Parish Council's response to the climate emergency. Our focus is to work with the local community and other groups in Cheltenham to support and enable individuals, groups, businesses, and organisations to achieve the Cheltenham net zero goal by 2030.

This is a huge undertaking but momentum is growing and people are beginning to see the possibilities and opportunities and are making choices which are starting to make change happen. The approach we are taking is linked closely to health and wellbeing. The talks, workshops, events, conversations, podcasts and many other activities and engagements are aimed at helping people to find ways to be planet friendly.

Cllr Lynda Johnson, Lead Councillor for CK Health Connect, says:

The CK Health Connect project addresses the health and well-being of our residents, by conducting research and, with our partner organisations, identifying inequalities of access to support services within our local community. The project recognises that by working in partnership, solutions targeted at the needs of specific groups within our community can be delivered.

In 2019, the project co-ordinated the production of a one-stop-shop directory of support services and activities in the Charlton Kings area, which is available online and in hard copy at various community hubs. The directory is regularly updated.

In 2020, the pandemic brought to the fore not only the considerable strengths of our local community, but also the challenges to be faced post-lockdown, including the crisis in mental health support services for young people and the deficit of digital skills amongst many of our senior citizens. These issues were further evidenced in community engagement surveys we conducted in 2021.

In 2022, CK Health Connect continues to focus on the needs of our young people and senior citizens, with a collaborative programme of actions around youth and digital inclusion.

Cllr Jan Honeywill, Chair of Charlton Kings Parish Council's Community Engagement and Wellbeing Committee says:

"Following the very restricted lives our residents had suffered in 2020 and most of 2021, the Parish Council was determined to offer some opportunities for enjoying life again in an outdoor environment. Since we had not been able to hold our usual Summer Fayre in June 2021, we determined to support an event in the Autumn, where people could mingle safely, enjoy some entertainment and meet with neighbours and friends. We can only thank those who came along in substantial numbers on the day in September, and made all of the efforts worthwhile.

In December 2021, we held our usual Christmas Fayre for families and local school children, and a new Victorian Christmas event was launched at Sixways. Many local businesses participated and the evening was so successful that we have been requested to repeat in the future. We believe that we helped to raise spirits at a difficult time and will continue to provide these opportunities within the Parish. Our plans for later this year include a Summer Fayre in June 2022, a walk around the Parish Boundary to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, an Autumn Fayre and a Victorian Evening at Sixways and Christmas Fayre in Church Piece. We hope that people will come forward if they have any ideas for additional ways we could utilise our lovely outdoor spaces - something that was highlighted in our Parish Plan as an important aspect of life in Charlton Kings."