Eight new Big Local areas announced

Big Local, Appreciating People, community developmentEight more communities in the North West have been allocated £1million each to spend on making their areas better places to live, and Appreciating People is working with three of them to identify the changes they want to make in their communities. The scheme is part of a pioneering Big Lottery Fund (BIG) programme, to put decision-making power in the hands of local people.

Each community has qualified for £1m lottery funding, which they will decide how to spend to improve their local area over the next ten years. That spending could include anything from creating new community facilities to starting up training and employment schemes, tackling anti-social behaviour, or providing more activities for young people.

Appreciating People already works in four areas, helping community groups bid for pots of £1 million to help improve their local area – Tim in Knowsley and Liverpool, Suzanne in Wigan and Oldham – and has now been allocated a further three areas to work with: Halton, Manchester and Sefton.

AP director Suzanne said: ‘The four areas we’re working with from Wave One are getting on well, taking their time to reach as many local people as they can, and putting in place a good foundation for the next ten years. Encouraged by Big Local’s flexible approach, each one is setting its own pace. We’ll be starting work with the new areas allocated in Wave Two over the next month.’

The money is from a £200m Big Lottery Fund scheme called Big Local, which aims to give communities a leading role in making decisions about how to improve their area and tackle local problems. The communities selected to receive the £1m Lottery funding have a history of difficulty in getting support and funding – from the lottery and elsewhere – and may face a range of issues, for example, the decline of local industry, high unemployment or low average wages, or a pressing need for new support services or activities.

A Big Lottery Fund-commissioned YouGov survey was published the same day, showing only 14 per cent of English adults feel that that those traditionally responsible for decision-making in local areas – including local councils (10%), government (1%) or local MPs (3%) – know best about what is needed to make their community a better place to live. 74% of people think local people and community groups (local people (55%) charities community groups (8%) or residents associations (11%)) know best.

Tim and Suzanne’s first job will be to bring residents and community organisations together to learn about Big Local, create strategies to get people involved and then begin the process of deciding what priorities local people have for the money and setting up a local partnership. They will then work with the areas to help them develop a plan to spend the £1m funding over the next ten years.