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Life after Big Local

Aimee Mallinson, worker for Cars Area Together in Solihull, believes ideas first sparked in the Legacy South learning clusters are already driving plans for this Big Local area's future

February 2019

Before I knew it 2018 was gone and we’re now in 2019! I’ve been attending the Legacy South learning clusters on behalf of Cars Area Together Big Local over the last nine months, and, with only one session left to go, looking back to the very first one, I can hand on heart say I am glad I took part. Considering that so far it’s been just three meet ups, when I reflect on how much I’ve learnt, the amazing Big Local people I’ve met, plus the delicious food we enjoyed, it’s been a great experience!

The clusters encouraged us to focus on our vision of what we want our Big Local legacy to be. Looking ahead, if you like, to what we want to endure, beyond Big Local. I had the opportunity to share the themes and ideas Cars Area Together are thinking about with everyone there. Perfect timing really, given that our partnership will soon be at the plan review stages and we’re looking forward to writing our Year 5 plan.

I’ve brought a selection of ideas from each learning cluster back to our Big Local and we’re using them to look at how we will go forward. We’re asking questions like; do we want to become a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO), community interest company (CIC), or a charity?

"We’ve been thinking too about the fact our legacy doesn’t necessarily have to be bricks and mortar and that sometimes it’s good to think outside the box."

We’ll really focus on this as part of our plan.

Having the opportunity to hear from other Big Locals who have already become a CIO for example, is not only extremely useful, but it has made it feel so much more real than it would if I was just reading about it. I like that I have built relationships with these Big Local areas, so I can go to them outside of the clusters, with any questions we may have.

I often refer back to the ‘How do I…?’ speech bubbles which we use to record our questions in the early stages. They’ve helped to open my eyes and made me think ‘How am I going to use what I’ve learned?’. I’ve even created an adapted version which says ‘How do we…?’ to use at our Big Local open evening and Year 5 planning session. I’m going to ask each partnership member to complete one so that we can re-visit each person’s questions in a year’s time.

I feel it’s really important to get Cars Area Together to realise that we need each and every one of them to move forward, and that what we are working on now will be our legacy.


You can read more thoughts on the legacy learning clusters in Martyn's blog 'An extraordinary learning event'.

For more about learning clusters and support available to all Big Local areas this year, check out Support from Big Local 2019 and upcoming events


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