History of ARCH

The information for this history was supplied by Frances Wheatley (former Secretary of ARCH).

Brief history of ARCH.

The concept of ARCH was triggered by a Christmas Fair in Adastral Square in 2014, organised from “The Coffee House”. The idea of an organisation began to grow and Frances Wheatley and people from the Poole Well-being Collaborative together organised an Easter Festival in 2015.   The mutual support and promotion witnessed at that community function, followed by more informal meetings, persuaded Frances to call a meeting of interested groups and residents in May 2015.

Thus ARCH was formed, the name symbolising a kind of bridge between the areas of the heath. Then the Community Development Manager had the idea of celebrating 50 years as a Canford Heath Community. In September 2015 a hugely successful “Canford Heath 50” event was held at the Haymoor Junior School.

Subsequently an ARCH Facebook page was set up, which is @canfordheath50. This is now updated and maintained.   On it there are many interesting and historic images.

In these initial stages, the advice and support given by the Community Development Manager and the Well-being Collaborative were immense and crucial to the development of ARCH.

In November 2015, the core Committee of Chair (Hayley Hills), Secretary (Frances Wheatley), and Treasurer (David Darling) was elected.  A bank account was opened and, at Christmas 2015, another Christmas Fair was held.

In June 2016, the Canford Heath Community Centre was the venue for a Community Fair, which was another encouraging social event. The ARCH logo was produced, based on a design resulting from a childrens’ competition.

In June 2016, Sasha Morgan became Vice-Chair and Publicity Officer.  An e-mail address was set up(canfordheatharch@gmail.com) which connects to the Secretary. Other social, promotional, networking and fundraising events had been held and more were planned. Having two local Councillors involved has given ARCH a voice and keeps ARCH members informed of local matters.    A website was created and went public in February 2017.   This is found via canfordheatharch.org   David Little agreed to edit the site.

In January 2018 Hayley Hills stepped down from being Chair and Sasha Morgan took over.   Hannah Porter was elected as Vice-Chair.

On October 3rd. 2018 the new ARCH Network met for the first time with a view to increasing the cooperation and networking between all the ARCH organisations.   Also, the intention is to gradually improve the visibility of ARCH in the Canford Heath area via a range of media.  To that end, a leaflet drop to all 7,500 Canford Heath properties was organised.   The double-sided A5 document was designed in a collaboration between ARCH and the local Neighbourhood Watch (CHNW).   David Little and CHNW provided funding for the printing, and the estate agents Palmer Snell facilitated distribution starting at the beginning of April 2019.   At the same time a leaflet advertising the “Canford Heath FEST 2019” was also delivered.  Subsequently, on May 19th. 2019, stalls and many entertainments were set up on the Haymoor School field.  Between 11 am. and 4 pm. over 2000 people attended and, in spite of a “monsoon” about 2 pm., the show went on – only indoors !   As a community event it was a huge social and financial success.   Thanks to Julie and her organising committee.

A similar “Fest” was planned to coincide with the 75th. anniversary of VE Day on May 8th. 2020 which by coincidence the Government had decided would be the “Spring Bank Holiday” !   Due to the onset of the world pandemic of the novel Coronavirus Covid-19, this celebration had to be cancelled- along with all the normal, regular Canford Heath activities being suspended.   To date (25/03/20), there is no end in sight.  The “stay at home” edict from the Government yesterday will “be reviewed in three weeks”, but most sporting and other public activities are suspended for much longer, e.g. currently no Athletics face-to-face coaching or competition in England until at least May 31.   The only “church services” being permitted – in very small scale – are funerals !

Three months on (29/06/20) the virus is still with us.  We have survived the ‘peak’ and Dorset has been one of the least-affected.   Some schools stayed open to serve the front-line workers’ children.  More children were welcomed back to Pre-school, Years 1 and 6 and, in a limited way, Years 10 and 12.  However the ‘summer holidays’ will still go ahead.  Churches have opened for private prayer two weeks ago but with safe-distance spacing and hand-sanitising available.   On July 04 live services will resume.   Food and other essential shops have been open all the time: after an initial mad rush (on e.g. toilet rolls !!!), even the big supermarkets organised one-way systems, limited customer numbers and have kept most shelves re-stocked.  Lockdown has been generally well-observed in Canford Heath and the air has been cleaner with less traffic.  Short heat-waves have brought huge invasions by frustrated city-dwellers, from as far away as Birmingham, to enjoy a few hours on Dorset beaches – resulting in tons of rubbish to be cleared by our BCP council and volunteers.   Toilets still being closed have resulted in other unpleasant deposits having to be cleared !   The need for exercise has seen many more footpaths being used by more people, some with built-in dog-walking !   Gradually we are emerging into a new ‘normal’ !   With the main venues e.g. Library, Churches, Community Centre, pubs, Leisure Centre, etc. all being closed, many regular Canford Heath activities had to be suspended.   In the next two weeks, many of those will re-open: but the need for continued safe-distancing (which was never “social” !) means that keeping each other safe from infection remains a priority.  So the nurse or doctor or hairdresser still has to wear full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) with visor, mask, gown and gloves; and strictly by appointment and one-to-one !

At the end of July 2020, then through August, September and October, many activities re-started and flourished, albeit still under Covid guidelines of safe-distancing and use of handsan and great care !   By November infections were on the increase and so a month-long second Lockdown was imposed on the country, followed by the use of a “Tier system”.  This put all parts of UK into various Tiers, with (in England) Tier 1 as the least restrictive and Tier 3 the most.  All of Dorset was put into Tier 2 and this was continued, on review, from December 16th.  There is due to be a limited relaxation from Dec. 23rd. – 27th., but this is being played down by the Government, encouraging people to “enjoy a small and short Christmas” !   There is a considerable risk of a fast rise in infections nation-wide leading to a punishing third Lockdown !   On December 31st. 2020, the situation had worsened to the point where a National Lockdown N0.3 was implemented, still using a “Tier” system but with most of England in Tier 4, the most stringent !

With much thinking time to use, the ARCH Committee has produced a new logo.  It is meant to still represent a kind of bridge uniting the district but also to reflect some of the positive and vibrant progress achieved in the past five years.   There will also be a new web-site.   The new site went live on September 28th. 2020 and is accessed via canfordheathnetwork.org.)    And a new three-year plan ! 

So now it is February 25th. 2021 !  On Monday (Feb. 22nd.), the P-M laid out a “Road Map” calculated to end the Tier system and LockDown 3 in “Steps”, starting with Step 1 on March 8th. allowing 1-to-1 contact outdoors.  Three weeks later, this will be relaxed further to return to the “Rule of 6”, i.e. six people from different households being able to meet for activities outdoors.   If, by expansion of the vaccination programme (which started in UK on December 8th. 2020), and continued self-discipline, the necessary criteria are met, Step 2 will start on April 12, then progressively on May 17th. to Step 3, and ultimately – if the criteria being applied are met – a semblance of normality after another five weeks, on June 21st. !

By giving residents information in various ways, ARCH hopes to enhance their quality of life and highlight activities available, to promote the mutual support thereby achieved.

Feb. 2017.   (Updated May 2018,  April 2019, March 2020, June 2020, December 2020, February 2021.)

NOTE:  A more detailed and illustrated version of this History is available.