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Organising and deciding

Time to reflect and recharge

Richard Usher, from our partner Just Ideas, shares the impact of our latest support offer for Big Local areas.

We were very excited when we were asked to deliver a brand-new support offer for Big Local areas looking to supercharge their Big Local plan.

The offer, aptly called Reflect | Recharge, creates a space for Big Local partnerships to reflect on their achievements but also invites deeper thinking about what support is needed in the final phase of Big Local: to overcome barriers, to be the best partnership you can be and to make a difference with your community through your Big Local Plan.

‘Don’t think you’ve done this all before…’

As the partner trusted to deliver this support offer, it was great to get a sense of how beneficial Reflect | Recharge sessions could be for partnerships through the pilot. By working alongside Big Local partnerships to deliver the pilot sessions, it became really clear how valuable they each found the sessions for:

  • creating space for people to step back from the busy agendas of partnership meetings
  • celebrating some of the amazing achievements of their Big Local over many years,
  • bringing new partnership members on board and help them get up to speed.


The ‘what next?’ question

Most importantly, the support offer helped partnerships to think ahead and start asking and answering that ‘what next?’ question.

Interestingly, most of the forward-focused discussions for the partnerships centered around:

  • what form the Big Local partnership will take beyond the end of the programme and how to make the most of their biggest resource – people!
  • how to move ahead with plans for potential or existing community places or hubs
  • communicating the vision of the Big Local area with partners and new people
  • moving on from problematic partnerships or relationships in the community
  • engaging new people (especially young people) with Big Local projects and activities.

The sessions helped crystalise and firm up thinking about the future and the current context we’re in!

Your six-month action plan

For partnerships who take part in the Reflect | Recharge sessions, the outcome is the ownership of an achievable six-month action plan, including the support needed to deliver your actions and a toolkit of all the resources used in the sessions.

Rather than being about creating additional layers of work for your partnership, the action plan is an opportunity to really focus on what you need to do to deliver your Big Local Plan and access the support required to do so.

For example, one of the pilot areas is now working with the organisation Locality to help deliver their plan of developing a community hub, whilst another pilot area has a much clearer view of its relationships with existing community facilities as a result of going through this process.

The overall feedback we’ve received is that those who have participated so far have found the experience positive. It has helped them plan and think ahead at this critical point in their Big Local journey.

It was playful and visual – thank you!

Are you ready to Reflect | Recharge?

Are you feeling the need for an energy-boost and an injection of fresh thinking within your Big Local partnership? Whether you’re bringing on new members, expanding your partnership, or struggling to find time to address the challenges that are getting in the way of enjoying and delivering Big Local, get in touch below to find out how you could become the next partnership to Reflect | Recharge.


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About the author
Richard Usher

My love of working with people and organisations to enable them to reach their potential has driven twenty years of work in the UK voluntary sector and international development organisations. My work focuses developing outcomes frameworks for community organisations to demonstrate the difference they make, including with Big Local areas.