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Support and funding available to people in Big Local areas

July 2015

Big Local is an exciting opportunity for residents in 150 areas around England to use at least £1m over the next 10 years to make a massive and lasting difference to their communities. It is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and managed by Local Trust. In addition to your £1m, we provide a range of funding and support to Big Local areas to help you make Big Local a success.


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Your Big Local rep

Every area is allocated a Big Local rep, who also represents Local Trust. Your area will work with this rep until you have an endorsed Big Local partnership, when you will have the option to choose your rep from our pool. 

The rep's role is to help you achieve your vision for your Big Local area through support, advice and appropriate challenge. The rep reports back to us and our partners, to ensure we use the experiences of people locally to improve the programme.

The reps support the progress of Big Local in each area but are not directly involved in delivery. They have two assignments. The first is to take you from the moment Big Local starts in your area to the moment when we endorse your plan. This includes running activities to engage your community, forming a Big Local partnership, and drafting and developing a plan. The second assignment is to support you while you deliver the plan. This includes help with putting it into action, as well as reviewing and monitoring the plan and the partnership. 

We fund the reps in addition to the £1 million to your area. The reps are contracted to Local Trust, and are managed on our behalf by Renaisi. As reps are not Big Local employees, many areas also get support from people employed by their locally trusted organisation. 


You can find guidance on Big Local in the guidance section of our website, such as information on how to access funding, and our criteria for Big Local partnerships. The website also offers a library of resources; news to provide inspiration and share learning; and ‘how to’ ideas to help you make Big Local a success. 

Social investment advice 

We know that low levels of financial literacy, unmanageable debt and illegal money-lending are problems in many Big Local areas. Some are working with credit unions and community development finance institutions (CDFIs) to provide financial services to people and businesses locally.

There are case studies and guidance on social investment on our website. We can also provide you with direct support through Small Change to give advice to Big Local areas, credit unions and CDFIs that are interested in working together locally. For more information please speak to your rep or contact us.

Learning and networking events

We support learning and networking through our programme of countrywide events, organised by the National Association for Neighbourhood Management (NANM), including special topics, annual spring events, learning teams, and networking visits in which areas can buddy up. Big Local reps also organise a programme of learning and networking events.


We also offer courses for people in Big Local areas. The aim is to enable you to learn new skills and refresh old ones so you are better placed to make Big Local happen in your area. 

We devised this programme in response to feedback about the skills people felt they needed to deliver Big Local. So each course is fun and interactive, uses a range of different styles, and is practical and hands-on. The courses are run by the Directory of Social Change (DSC), Northern College and Talk Action.

Our learning and networking events and training courses are free for anyone who lives or works in a Big Local area. We also offer financial support for expenses and childcare or carer costs for residents in Big Local areas. You can find details of our events and courses on our website here

Locally trusted organisations

Big Local areas each choose a locally trusted organisation(s) to work with and to receive their funding. Once we have endorsed your funding proposal, we set up a grant agreement with the locally trusted organisation in line with your proposal and the funding requested. Your locally trusted organisation(s) reports to your Big Local partnership and to us on expenditure and monitoring. Many locally trusted organisations offer additional support to Big Local areas and are a valuable resource to each Big Local partnership.

For more information please see our guidance on locally trusted organisations.


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Before a plan is endorsed

Before you have created a Big Local plan for spending your £1m, we provide an extra pot of funding to help you get started. This funding of £30,000 or £20,000 (either called Getting People Involved or Getting Started, depending on when your Big Local area was announced) is to help you to spread the word about Big Local so that residents and local organisations know how they can get involved. It also enables areas to decide what priorities they want to work on. 

All 150 Big Local areas have now been awarded this funding!

As well as the Getting Started or Getting People Involved funding, we provide £2,000 to help you create your Big Local plan. This money is on top of your £1m. Not every area will need the same resources to develop a Big Local plan - some rely on volunteers, but this may not be possible everywhere. If you do not use this funding, it will be added to your £1m once your plan has been endorsed. 

Pathway funding of up to £18,000 comes off your £1m. You can access this funding before your plan is agreed, to help you keep up the momentum and enthusiasm for Big Local while you develop and produce your plan. 

Once a plan is endorsed

After endorsement, these are the funds available to each area:

  • £1m (minus any Pathway funding)
  • Any underspent or unused grant funding from Getting People Involved/Getting Started and Creating your Big Local plan
  • A contribution from us to the locally trusted organisation for grant and partnership administration. This is calculated at 5% of the total being drawn down (this is on top of your £1m and paid for by Local Trust)
  • A fee for the CDFI or credit union, should the funding be used as social investment (instead of the 5% contribution to a locally trusted organisation).

In the past, we used to award £2,250 each year to each area after a plan was endorsed. We called this Marketplace funding. Now, to simplify and reduce the amount of paperwork, we will simply add to the total amount available to each area - £22,500 on top of your £1m. If you have already taken out Marketplace funding, that amount will be deducted from the money that we add to your £1m. (The Marketplace directory is still available on our website. This is a central list of organisations or people offering specific services relevant to Big Local.)

Local Trust trustees have also said that they will consider allocating funds (‘interest’) to each Big Local area from the investment returns. This will happen in autumn 2015 (after three years), and annually thereafter. 

Retrospective funding

Locally trusted organisations should only pay for things that are covered by the endorsed proposal or plan, within the total funding amount agreed and in the overall timeline as stated in the offer letter from Local Trust. Any variations to activities, funding and timelines need to be agreed with us in advance. We cannot fund retrospectively. Retrospective funding means any expenses you commit to, or payments you make, or any activities that happen or start before we have confirmed your funding in writing (by letter or email).

Local Trust cannot fund:

  • salaries of existing staff for activities they undertake as part of their normal employment that are not related to the programme
  • items that mainly benefit individuals (for example equipment that is not shared)
  • political or religious activities
  • projects or activities which the state has a legal obligation to provide
  • VAT you can recover
  • general running costs not associated with the delivery of this programme
  • the purchase and/or sale of alcohol.
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