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What is Big Local?

July 2015

Big Local is an exciting opportunity for residents in 150 areas in England - to spend £1million or more each on making a massive difference to their communities. 

Big Local, which was launched in 2010, is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and managed by Local Trust, a unique organisation whose aim is to support resident- and community-led solutions for creating lasting change throughout England. 

We bring together local talent, ambitions, skills and energy in the shape of people, groups and organisations who want to make their area an even better place to live. And we work with a range of partners to provide expert advice and support, so that those areas can put their plans into action.

You can find out more about the 150 Big Local areas in the Get involved section of our website.

What will Big Local do for me?

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Big Local has four outcomes - by which we mean the changes and benefits that we hope will come from a combination of your involvement and activities, and our resources and support:

  • Communities will be better able to identify local needs and take action in response to them.
  • People will have increased skills and confidence, so that they continue to identify and respond to needs in the future.
  • The community will make a difference to the needs it prioritises.
  • People will feel that their area is an even better place to live.

What's it not about

  • It’s not about your local authority, the government or a national organisation telling you what to do.
  • It's not about individual groups fixing their favourite problem without talking to a wide range of people who live and work in the community.
  • It's not about short-term thinking – you’ve got 10 years or more to plan and deliver the best options for your area.

How were the Big Local areas chosen?

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The Big Lottery Fund considered areas that had been previously overlooked for funding and investment. Then they looked at population and deprivation levels and geographic spread, both across a region and across urban and rural areas. And they talked to everyone from the local authority to the local voluntary and community sector.

The areas were launched in three waves of fifty: wave 1 in July 2010 (before Local Trust was set-up), wave 2 in February 2012, and wave 3 in December 2012.

Who is Big Local for?

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If you live, work or volunteer in the area, Big Local is for you!

Big Local is resident-led, which means that change for the better starts with you. We believe that residents know best what will make a real and meaningful difference to their areas and the people who live there. 

Big Local empowers people to develop plans and find solutions that work for their communities, giving them the opportunity to try new ideas and become stronger through learning and overcoming challenges. Residents create a vision and Big Local plan for their area, which includes deciding on their priorities, what activities to run, who to work with and how the funding will be used over the 10 years.

How does a Big Local area get started?

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As soon as the existing Big Local areas were announced, a Big Local rep started work in the area. He or she worked with people locally to raise awareness about Big Local, bringing together residents, local groups and organisations. The first steps were also supported by local people, groups and organisations such as resident associations, voluntary groups, the local council, community activists and people with other involvement in community life. They helped residents come together, form steering groups, develop proposals to get their start-up money (Getting People Involved/Getting Started funding) and identify a locally trusted organisation to work with.

Each area is different, and each Big Local progresses at a different pace in involving people locally, forming a Big Local partnership and creating a plan.

How can I get involved?

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To find out more, please visit the Get involved section of our website and:

  • Enter your location to find out if you are in a Big Local area.
  • Attend a learning and networking event, or a training course to develop your skills, and meet people from other Big Local areas.
  • Apply for a Star People award, if you have an idea for a venture to benefit your area.
  • Offer your services to areas on the Big Local Marketplace, if you are an organisation.

What are Big Local areas doing?

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Read some of our blogs and case studies to find out about the many different things that Big Local areas are doing. You can also find out more about what each Big Local area is up to, and follow the links to some of their websites and Facebook or Twitter accounts through selecting areas from our map.

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