Big Local is a long term programme, running for at least ten years, to support communities in up to 150 selected areas, to make where they live in an even better place now and in the future
We’ve been thinking BIG over recent weeks and working hard with our partners to get the Big Lottery Fund’s ambitious £200m ‘Big Local’ programme off the ground. Renaisi is part of a consortium, led by the Community Development Foundation (CDF), selected to manage the groundbreaking initiative that will see £1million invested in 150 local areas throughout the UK over the next ten years.
Renaisi’s role is to recruit and manage a pool of Big Local representatives who will provide ‘light touch’ support and advice to local areas throughout the programme. This includes helping local people and organisations to work together to identify local issues and take action to realise lasting change. Renaisi is also responsible for producing and maintaining the boundary maps for Big Local areas.
The programme is particularly groundbreaking because it is much more than a typical grants programme. Firstly local areas are genuinely at the forefront of the process – not just in terms of deciding what the priorities are for their area or how money will be invested but also in building on the skills and capacity of local people and organisations to drive improvements.
Secondly funding includes a mix of grants, social investment and loans, which means that money will be reinvested and recycled in the area for the benefit of local people over the long term.
The first 50 Big Local areas were announced last year and have recently started working to raise awareness of the Big Local programme within their communities. We have met with each of these 50 areas over the past month as part of the ‘handover’ from Big Lottery staff and have been hugely excited and inspired by the fantastic work that is already taking place on the ground; there is clearly a huge appetite and capacity within communities to take ownership of the programme locally. The next 50 Big Local areas will be announced by BIG shortly.
We are now working to recruit a national pool of Big Local representatives who have experience of and are motivated by helping local communities to work together to improve their neighbourhoods. More details will be uploaded shortly.
Big Local’s mission is to enable and build the capacity of local people to identify what matters to them most and to take action to change things for the better, now and in the future. Given the news in recent weeks this seems very timely and more important than ever.