World’s Most Beautiful Poo Bin Competition Winners Announced

14 children from 3 schools received their prizes last week for using their imagination to transform the humble poo bin into design icons. Pupils from St Helen’s Roman Catholic (Aided) Primary School, St Mary’s Church of England Primary School and The Westborough School took part in the ‘World’s Most Beautiful Poo Bin Competition’ as the final part of the Shared Spaces Project that looked at the heritage of the 8000 people burial at the North Road Burial Ground in Westcliff-on-Sea.

Children from schools in the Victoria Ward produced designs to revolutionise dog waste bins to inspire all dog owners to use them. The 500+ competition entries were gathered and exhibited on the railings of the North Road Burial Ground in April and May this year.

The competition was funded by the Victoria Ward Community First Government Fund and continued the work of the Shared Spaces Project from local Not for Profit company Blade Education, that aimed to see if the North Road Burial Ground was a suitable place to use as an Outdoor Classroom for Primary Schools and also to record and save the heritage of the thousands of people buried there by creating an online archive of the official burial records and the stories of as many people as possible.

Raymond Mason, Grants and Appeals Officer at St Mary’s School, was enthusiastic about the outcomes. “Our pupils have really enjoyed taking part in this art competition and it has really raised awareness locally of how much of a problem dog fouling has become in our area. We are very pleased because since the inspiring exhibition of the children’s work on the railings we have seen a real decrease in the amount of dog mess on the pavements around St Mary’s.”

The 14 competition winners each received a trophy for their contribution which was presented by Beth Hooper, from Blade Education, “There’s no doubt that the children’s designs cheered up the railings in a cold and horrible spring and got local people talking about how much we all need dog owners to pick up after their pets. We did have some local dog owners express their concern that we wanted to ban dogs from the cemetery, but were able to explain that the whole idea of the project is to explore how we share the opportunities that North Road Burial Ground offers to the Victoria Ward.”

Shared Spaces Compo St Helens 1.jpgShared Spaces Compo St Helens 2.jpgShared Spaces St Marys 1.jpgShared Spaces St Marys 2.jpgShared Spaces Westborough 1.jpgShared Spaces Westborough 2.jpg 


Meeting dates


Our future dates for 2013/14 meetings are as follows:

Monday 3rd June 6.00pm at Prittlewell Chapels

Monday 2nd September 6.00pm at Balmorasl Centre

Monday 9th December 6.00pm at Balmoral Centre

Monday 3rd March 6.00pm at Civic Centre

Let’s Dance!

AYIGAFRIK DANCE are delivering workshops teaching African dance and drumming through engagement with local schools and community groups. The aim is to prioritise youth participation while welcoming people of all ages. The final workshop will include a show to demonstrate the skills learnt by those taking part.

Local residents, friends and families of Victoria ward are invited to attend. The workshops will be delivered by experienced tutors in dance African culture and drumming with support from volunteers. Tutors/volunteers are from diverse backgrounds and have wide experience across Essex, which will inform these workshops.


The group funded through the Victoria Ward community First Panel matches some of the priorities the panel has set. These are improving youth provision and learning new skills across the ward.

This project will build links between diverse local groups. It will raise the profile of African members of Southend communities in Victoria Ward. Allowing them to demonstrate and share commitment to the community and break down barriers.

Full list of funded groups so far

Funded Group Recommended Amount Paid Amount ID No Disposition
Neighbourhood Watch Group 520.00 0.00 3984.01 Pending
Southend Fire Birds Majorettes 486.00 486.00 5352.01 Approved
Queensway Safety Group 1,100.00 1,100.00 5868.01 Approved
Balmoral Community Centre 1,150.00 1,150.00 5900.01 Approved
Triangle community group 480.00 480.00 5901.01 Approved
South Essex homes in Partnership with IYSS 2,500.00 2,500.00 5902.01 Approved
Balmoral Community Centre 400.00 400.00 5903.01 Approved
Balmoral Community Centre 1,200.00 1,200.00 5904.01 Approved
Grand Total 7,836.00 7,316.00    

Queensway Fun Day

The Community First Panel was delighted to be able to fund a fun day for residents of the Queensway flats. The event was a great success, involving bouncy castle, face painting, music and barbecue. There was also a serious side, with a number of agencies taking part giving out advice on safety welfare and other matters.

The area has had more than it’s fair share of problems over the years, and it was great to be able to make a contribution to fostering a better community spirit.

Successful Projects

Somewhat belatedly, I’m writing up some information about successful projects that we have already funded. Once such was a children’s “Activity Challenge Day” organised by the Balmoral Centre. I reproduce part of the email sent to me:

I am delighted to be able to report that our children’s Activity Challenge Day was a  huge success!  It took place on Friday 27th July, and saw a packed coach full of excited youngsters going off for a truly memorable day.  They had all been identified by the junior school next door to the Balmoral Centre as being local children deserving of a special treat for various different reasons (such as having worked exceptionally hard this year despite family break-ups and other social issues; being carers; coping with tragedy)  For these and other reasons, this was likely to be the only treat these children would experience during the long summer holiday, and their pleasure was plain to see.

We at the Balmoral Centre were absolutely thrilled to be able to offer the opportnity of this special day to these very deserving local children, and are truly grateful to the Panel for the funding we received which enabled it to happen.

First bids

The Community First Panel is now up and running and accepting bids. We have an sum of around £1,400 which must be allocated before the end of June otherwise it will have to be returned. We will next be meeting on June 27th to decide how this can be spent.

It’s very simple to apply for funds – the application and guidance notes can be found on the ‘How to apply for funds’ tab.

The important thing is that we need our funds to be matched by the group applying. It could be with money, but it could also be with volunteers’ time.

For more information email or