As your Big Local Rep, every three months or so, I share my thoughts on local area progress with you as residents and with the central team managing the national programme. Your comments and thoughts are always welcome.
The big picture
The Big Local community got a boost in the autumn. We benefited from continuing partnership face to face meetings and the opening up of activities and events. And Big Local Connects went ahead in late October in Nottingham, bringing together 117 of 150 Big Local areas, with nearly 400 people taking part. There was joy in reunion, sharing experiences and learning, including about how communities had pulled together during the worst of Covid. You can hear some of the highlights through Chris Allen’s radio broadcasts, including an interview with Warsop’s three attendees, Vicky, Maddy and Lesley. The four Big Local national Connects events (last year’s being via Zoom) have greatly strengthened the joint purpose across Big Local, validating the power and effectiveness of resident-led decision making.
Evidence is growing of what it takes to establish and to sustain resident-led change. These include crucial resident leadership, consistent support of the legally accountable body, the Local Trusted Organisation, and the role of the paid worker to help co-ordinate activity. One of the massive spin offs or added value is the growth in Big Local areas of volunteering. Not just through the partnership but through increased activity of groups and projects it supports and funds.
The big news for the partnership over these last months has been seeing Vibrant Warsop CIC move into its new home, the former Methodist Chapel, purchased thanks to its financial support and now secured as the community hub for years and years to come. Big Warsop was then delighted to hear that their faith in Vibrant was further vindicated by it securing five years Reaching Communities, Community Fund support from the National Lottery. This is the biggest validation possible of Vibrant’s achievement and the Big Warsop vision in backing them all the way. The partnership meeting in October was in the hall itself and the potential was evident for all to see.
The annual partnership review showed four key elements working well together: sound leadership underpinned by clear vision and values; effective management of investments, monitoring and reporting; positive action and activity to the benefit of residents through close working with key delivery partners; and sound communications with a wide cross-section of residents, including through networking and links with partner organisations.
First business in January is to complete the partnership review, put back due from the autumn due to illness. The partnership also plans to work through a dedicated sub group talking with potential partners to secure the continuation of RoLo community chest beyond Big Local. It will also be building a plan of activity and events to celebrate and share learning about the local Big Local achievements