The Plan can look however you want it to, providing it has the three parts and the information above, and is easy to read and understand. The foundation for your Plan is built on:
Your Big Local partnership is responsible for creating the Plan. Throughout the process it is important to take views from a wide and representative range of the local community, and also ensure that you avoid conflicts of interest in any decisions that shape the Plan. The partnership can decide who then writes the Plan up – some partnerships do this themselves while others choose to commission external support for this. It’s up to you.
You could also consider creative ways to package your Plan, grab attention and make clear what you are trying to achieve – such as good design, and accompanying film, audio, art, pictures or animation.
Your vision is a short statement that describes what your partnership wants to have achieved in your area with its million, linked to a broad or ‘indicative’ budget.
How will your area look?
Are your priorities still in line with your community’s priorities?
How do you know that this is the right vision?
How will you spend the remaining funds to achieve what you want?
Are there costs to consider linked to the close of Big Local?
Have you talked to a wide range of people in your community?
Have you included what they’ve said?
We’re asking for this so that partnerships have the best opportunity to use all of the funding (read our blog on spending out) awarded by the end of the programme in March 2026 when we will need to return unspent funds to the National Lottery Community Fund. (Remember that you don’t have to use the full amount of Big Local funding if you don’t wish to). And, as a simple document, you can use this and your legacy statement to communicate Big Local Plans to others.
You can then then create a more detailed action plan to sit below your costed vision. Your action plan can be for as few or as many years as you like, up to March 2026. We will use this to create a grant agreement with your LTO (the offer letter).
It’s important that your action plan fits in with your costed vision. When you are moving to a new plan, or new opportunities arise and you want to make changes, you should use your costed vision as a guide.
Refresher: What is in a Big Local action plan and the supporting information?
It’s also a good idea to include how you will measure and check your progress so that you know you are achieving what you set out to do – and during our assessment we look at how you have fed learning into your plan. You could also think about how you will communicate your plans to the community and the other people and organisations you want to reach.
Remember that in your last plan there may be some costs associated with the close of the programme, such as redundancy for long term staff. We have a simple checklist around funding essentials to consider towards the close of the programme, and your LTO and rep can also help.
Here’s an example of the difference between the costed part of your overall vision and your action plan budget.
Your new Plan should include a short legacy statement for your Big Local about the impact you believe that you’ll have had, and what you want to have put in place by the end of your funding. This can be in any format and should answer the question/s:
It may be useful to think of this change in terms of People (like skills, experience, motivation), Relationships (like networks, organisations) and Place (like physical assets or activities that will continue) – or in terms of your Big Local priorities. You don’t need to go into detail into your statement to us, but the details will help you plan as a partnership.
. Questions that partnerships may discuss as they develop their legacy statement
We’re asking for legacy plans firstly because at this halfway point in the programme it is a good moment to start planning. Secondly, we would like to collect information on legacy plans across areas so we can understand what kind of support we should develop and offer.
When your three-part Plan is ready you need to send it in through the Big Local Community, our online funding system. We ask that you do this at least four weeks before you need funding, to allow time for our assessment and decision-making process (but this may be longer, depending on when you are able to meet with the Plan assessor).
As a checklist, you need to send us:
If you have more than one LTO, each LTO should submit a proposal on BLC for their part of the funding, attaching the relevant documents.
We carry out assessments of your Big Local Plan to:
It is very rare for Local Trust to not endorse a Plan, and in these cases we’ll work with you to resolve any problems and get a funding agreement sorted as soon as possible. Sometimes we will issue a funding offer but attach a condition to a payment (see more in our funding agreements guidance).
Assessments are carried out by a member of our assessment team of community development experts. They are an opportunity to get an honest outside view of your partnership and plan, and we’ve asked assessors to develop feedback for areas to highlight areas of strength and opportunities for growth.
As part of this process, the assessor will read your Plan (including your costed vision and legacy plan), speak to the rep and LTO, and may visit your Big Local area to meet your partnership and discuss the Plan (depending on whether it is a desk-based or visit-based assessment). They will also perform a due diligence check of the LTO, which looks at financial capacity and risk. They may help you to amend your budget if you decide together that something needs changing.
The kinds of issues we look at during assessments
We will send feedback from your assessment with your offer letter. The feedback include reflections from the assessment and the positive things that really stood out for the assessor, as well as opportunities for improvement or development.
We send an offer letter by email to the LTO, copying in the chair of the Big Local partnership and the rep. This letter:
We then usually pay the first six months of this funding straight away (or once we get the signed terms and conditions back from your LTO, if these haven’t been signed yet).
Then every six months (or when funding is next needed) we ask your LTO to complete a spend report. This updates us on what funding has been used so far and what’s needed in the next payment period, so we can ensure they have the right amount of funding to deliver the Plan.
You can find more details on the funding processes – including how to make a change to your Plan once it is endorsed, or how to extend your Plan – in our guides: Funding agreements and processes for Big Local Plans, and How to submit a Big Local spend report.
To agree changes to your grant or Plan we will need to confirm that the Big Local partnership has agreed, and we will the reasons for the changes and that they are within the total amount of your grant (or link to variations info).
Before your plan ends it’s important to have another one ready so that we can put a funding agreement in place. Please send us the plan at least four weeks before you expect it to start, so we can make sure there are no gaps in funding.
Before you start developing your new plan you should also complete a plan review, to reflect on what has worked and inform the new plan.
If your LTO has funds remaining at the end of your plan, you can either decide to: