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The community power podcast: Series three

23 Apr 2024

Join us for series three of the community power podcast, where we explore what happens when you give local people the money, the power and the resources to create lasting change in their communities.

The community power podcast is back – and for series three, we’re delving into the ways communities are fostering pride in their local areas, creating lasting legacies, and embracing the future through innovative projects designed to enhance community life.

Episode 1: Community catalyst – the legacy of Ewanrigg’s We Will campaign  

For episode one of the new series, we caught up with Rebecca and Reece from Ewanrigg Big Local in Cumbria. They talked to us about their We Will campaign, which broke down the stigma around mental health through empowerment and listening. 

Although the We Will campaign has ended, its reverberations can still be felt in Ewanrigg, especially at their community hub, The Centre. Here, a calendar of social events have created a sense of connection, offering residents a place to come together, reducing social isolation and promoting good mental health. 

Meanwhile, many of the young founding members of the We Will campaign have gone on to higher education and work.  

Having grown up with Big Local, Rebecca and Reece share the importance of including young people in driving local change, to make a lasting impact on services and attitudes.  

This episode was recorded at our last ever Big Local Connects event in 2023. You can find out more about We Will on The Centre’s website, and watch their campaign film, boy, on YouTube. 

Episode 2: Better together – reflecting on Villages Together’s Big Local journey

In this episode, we connect with project lead Jon Cousins to delve into the journey of Puriton and Woolavington, the two communities that form Villages Together Big Local in Somerset.

Despite their differences, these communities have shared valuable lessons on addressing some of their toughest challenges, including isolation, a lack of spaces for young families, and anti-social behaviour.

By engaging in thorough consultations to understand their community’s needs, they’ve developed solutions to transform their area, including refurbishing their pavilion – which now houses a boxing gym – and creating a new football club.

Recorded at our final Big Local Connects event in 2023, this episode highlights the power of communities when they’re supported to take ownership of local challenges and opportunities.

Episode 3: A growing legacy – Winterton’s journey to a community orchard

A historic rural former market town, Winterton has always prided itself on being clean and green.

Now, after working towards becoming an Incredible Edible community – where residents unite to grow and foster lasting connections through food – Winterton Big Local has taken a significant step towards realising its dream of creating a community orchard.

In this episode we speak to Kerrie Prowting, Winterton Big Local’s coordinator, and local resident Sarah Hussey about their journey towards breaking ground on the orchard.

As well as producing apples, pears, plums (and more!), the five-acre orchard will provide a habitat for wildlife. And as a shared community space, it will offer residents a place to gather and take part in volunteering opportunities – creating a shared sense of ownership and a lasting legacy for years to come.

Episode 4: Building community and combating loneliness – the impact of Tonge with the Haulgh’s Men’s Shed

In this week’s episode we speak to Jeff, Neil, Steve and Danny from Tonge with the Haulgh’s Men’s Shed project. The initiative connects retired men, offering them opportunities to work on projects, learn new skills and socialise – as well as providing essential social support, addressing loneliness and improving mental health.

Despite being called a ‘men’s shed’, the group aims to attract younger members and welcomes women as well – with a women’s only art group offering a safe space for women to socialise.

In partnership with their local church, the Men’s Shed project has launched additional community initiatives, including a gardening project with a beehive for honey production, an over-50s lunch club, a community café and a learning hub, helping to prevent isolation and giving members a sense of purpose and community.

Get inspiration to visit or start your own local Men’s Shed and discover our community action plan to help tackle loneliness and isolation in your community.

Episode 5: Thinking outside the box – exploring a Universal Basic Income pilot

In June 2023, Grange Big Local in East Finchley, London, and Big Local Jarrow in South Tyneside, launched a Universal Basic Income (UBI) pilot scheme.

Aimed at addressing issues faced by local residents, the scheme would examine the impact of UBI on health, wellbeing and economic outcomes, while also advocating for UBI as a national policy solution. The innovative scheme was developed in consultation with local residents, to shape what could become the first UBI trial in England.

In this episode, we speak to Julia Hines from Grange Big Local and Cleo Goodman from Basic Income Conversation about the initiative and their hopes for securing funding to get the pilot off the ground. They discuss the practicalities of a UBI and how it could address basic needs, and provide security and support for those facing financial difficulties or who have taken on caregiving responsibilities.

Read more about the pilot in the Big Local basic income proposal report.

More episodes will be made available over the coming months.

Listen to more episodes

Listen back to our earlier series of the community power podcast and follow the journey of Big Local areas since March 2022. 

In series one, we’d just emerged from the third national lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic, and many Big Local areas were still delivering emergency support to their communities. 

Fast forward to series two and community groups were responding to the cost of living crisis – stepping up once again to provide emergency food, fuel and mental health support to their local areas.