What is Big Local?
Big Local is a fund created by Big Lottery Fund, and managed by Local Trust, to help local communities invest in projects that will make a long lasting and positive difference to the area. 150 Big Local areas have been established in England and each has £1,000,000 to invest in their community over a ten year period.
An area in south-east Northumberland containing the four villages of Cresswell, Ellington, Linton and Lynemouth (CELL) was chosen as one of these areas.
How does it work?
The scheme is resident led, with the community deciding what projects will provide improvement, regeneration, and leave a lasting legacy for residents to enjoy after the funding ends. Requests and ideas are pulled together to create a two-year plan of activity, and submitted to the national Big Local controlling body (the Local Trust) for approval. Once approved, funds are released as needed and project delivery is left to the local residents. To make sure the funds are properly spent and accounted for, a Locally Trusted Organisation (LTO) is selected, to act as both banker and employer of any staff.
The rules require that a Partnership body of local residents and representatives of professional or charitable bodies be formed to take responsibility for the projects, and monitor progress and spending.
What has already happened?
Since CELL received Big Local area status in 2014 much progress has been made:
- A door to door survey was carried out in 2014 and followed up by number of public consultation meetings which were held around the four villages in CELL. A consultation report, “Life in Four Villages” was created.
- Based on that report, the first CELL Big Local Plan for 2015 – 2017 was put together, and approved by residents and subsequently by Local Trust.
- Lynemouth Community Trust was appointed as our Locally Trust Organisation (LTO) for the period 2015-2017.
- The CELL Big Local Partnership was created, made up of ordinary residents with talent, ambitions, skills and energy who want their area to be an even better place to live.
- Task groups were created, focusing on the key priorities identified in the initial residents survey. A magazine, CELL LIFE, was established, and continues to be published three times a year, and delivered to every house in the CELL area.
What is happening now?
- We’re now onto our third Project Plan which was approved by Local Trust in June 2019, following a series of community consultation events in April.
- Our agreement with YMCA Northumberland to be our Locally Trusted Organisation for the next two years has been renewed.
- Our priority themes have changed very slightly, but still remain focused on the issues identified in our initial community consultation. They are:
- Children & Families
- Community Resources
- Getting Around
- Strengthening Communities
- This is likely to be our last two year plan as, if all the planned projects go ahead, all the CELL Big Local funding will be spent by summer 2021.
New volunteers and ideas are always needed and most welcome. Please do not miss this opportunity to make a difference!