Community spirit Organising and deciding

Growing Together Northampton: learn about their Big Local journey

In the next few months, Growing Together Northampton is set to become one of two areas to have completed the spend of their Big Local funding.

To mark this milestone, they are holding an event on 25 April called ‘Sharing Our Experience’, where they will discuss their Big Local journey and consider how the changes they have made will continue beyond the funding.

In this blog, Peter Strachan the Programme Coordinator of Growing Together Northampton, talks about what to expect from the event:

On 31 March, the Growing Together Big Local programme on five estates in east Northampton will become one of the first two areas to complete the spend of its Big Local money. We’ve spent a lot of time making sure the momentum that we’ve created during the Big Local programme keeps going, so it’s more the end of the first phase than of the whole programme. We have tried to use most of our funding to get various projects up and running successfully so that they can be sustained after the funding finishes.

Creating lasting links

As well as being empowered to create a robust legacy, we have also found that resident-led approaches really do work in making neighbourhoods better places to live. Not only have we benefited from having a direct say in where our funding has gone but lots of people in the community have managed to build skills like organisation, management and advertising. We’ve also been really pleased to see the positive effect the Big Local programme has had on organisations we’ve developed partnerships with in terms of how they make decisions and work with the local community. There was one partnership in particular that worked really well and another one that was less successful: we will discuss this at the event on 25 April and consider how things might have worked out better with the less fruitful partnership. We’d also be really interested to hear other Big Local experiences of working with local organisations and consider how these relationships can last beyond the funding.

Owning our plan

Another positive aspect of our Big Local journey has been the Neighbourhood Plan we put together at the beginning of the project and what this has done for the communities within our Big Local. Despite the fact that we didn’t need any of our funding to develop it, it has been one of the most useful things we’ve done in the whole programme; crucially, it has given us a legally-binding say in what does and doesn’t get planning approval in our area. This has given us a sense of ownership over whether change happens and what it looks like, as well as giving the community a really useful opportunity to discuss planning proposals as a collective.

Find out more

We have got a lot out of our Big Local journey so far and are excited to see what the future holds. We’re really looking forward to discussing it in more depth with other Big Local residents so we can share ideas, stories and inspiration from around the country. It would be great to see as many Big Local areas as possible – make sure you save the date!

Event details:

Date:              Saturday 25 April 2020

Time:             10am – 4pm

Venue:           Blackthorn Community Centre, Northampton

Cost:              The event is free to attend, but travel expenses won’t be covered

 

For further details, please contact Peter Strachan on 07581813137 or peter@growingtogether.org.uk