Ten Years and One Million Pounds!
Allenton is one of 150 areas that have been awarded £1 million to make a lasting and positive difference in the community.
“Big Local” funding is a 10-year programme with the aim of making a significant difference to the local area and long-lasting change to the lives of the people who live and work in the area. You can read more about what Big Local is all about here.
It’s an exciting opportunity for residents around England to use at least £1 million to make a positive and lasting difference to their local community. The Allenton Big Local project is about bringing together all the local talent, ambitions, skills and energy from individuals, groups and organisations who want to make their area an even better place to live.
The four programme outcomes for Big Local are:
- 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.
Our vision for Allenton Big Local area is for a stronger community by bringing about visible change through raising aspirations, opportunities and skills.
How We Do Things At Allenton Big Local
The name of the partnership shall be ‘Allenton Big Local Partnership Group’ (ABL Group)
The Partnership is currently an unincorporated body and comprises three parts:
- The Allenton Big Local Forum
- The Allenton Big Local Partnership Group
- Any Big Local sub-groups agreed by the Partnership Group, such as the Events sub group, Community Chest sub group and Bursary Scheme sub group.
- Any proposed changes to this approach and governance structure will be made in writing and advertised on the website 14 days prior to the AGM and be voted on during the AGM
Allenton Big Local Forum
The Forum will meet at least annually as an open public meeting or event, organised by the ABL Group and attended by the Chair of the ABL Group. Details of the AGM will be advertised on the Allenton Big Local website at least one month before the meeting takes place. Membership of the Forum is open to anyone who lives and/or works in the ABL area. The purpose of the annual meeting/event will be to report on progress made towards the delivery of the plan. The Forum will also be a chance to:
- Review and determine the membership of the ABL Group.
- Make recommendations of future priorities to include in the plan.
Allenton Big Local area falls within two council boundaries, Boulton Ward and Alvaston Ward. The Partnership Group will ensure regular updates are communicated via these forums to ensure as wide a group as possible are kept informed of progress towards agreed priorities.
The Partnership Group
The Partnership Group is the overarching partnership body that:
- Agrees the framework and structure for the partnership.
- Provides strategic direction by agreeing the vision and ambition.
- Agrees the content of the partnership plan.
- Influences local policy through strong and clear advocacy and through championing Allenton Big Local.
- Acts to remove barriers to collaboration.
- Tasks any sub-groups or working-groups with securing specific outcomes.
- Monitors overall progress towards outcomes of the Big Local vision and plan.
- Ensures appropriate structures for meaningful engagement with local communities.
- Makes arrangements for the allocation of funds or grants received by the partnership for the express purpose of partnership activity, in order to advance the delivery of the Allenton Big Local vision and plan.
- Approves arrangements for the management and administration of the partnership.
- Reviews the partnership structure and its effectiveness.
Membership of the Group
- Membership of the Group will be restricted to those who live, work or operate a business in the ABL area and those who represent those who live and/or work in the area.
- Only resident members of the ABL Group will have full voting rights. Non-residents can be appointed by the partnership as non-voting advisory members.
- There will be a minimum of 8 partnership members and 51% will be residents. It must be ensured that residents are in the majority of voting members and the Partnership group will not exceed 20 members.
- The resident membership will be reviewed and voted on at the Annual General Meeting of the Forum, with elections requiring a two thirds majority of residents in attendance by show of hands.
- The maximum term of office for residents on the partnership shall be 3 years. A rota shall be drawn up so that each year a minimum of 3 resident members stand down. Any resident member standing down or completing their term of office may put themselves forward for re-election. Other residents may put themselves forward to be elected onto the partnership by written nomination 7 days in advance.
- Those who wish to join the partnership during the year or in between AGMs will be asked to meet with two resident members who will determine the applicant’s eligibility and provide further information about membership. The resident members of the partnership will vote, requiring a two thirds majority.
Responsibilities of Partnership Members
Members will be responsible for:
- Providing information and advice about day-to-day quality of life in the area.
- Actively encouraging people in the area to play their part in supporting Allenton Big Local and its activities.
- Ensuring local concerns are addressed and that planned activity has local support.
- Ensuring effective communication between the partnership and members of their own community.
- Contributing to collective decision making based on clear evidence.
- Acting in accordance with the general principles of conduct, attached as an Appendix.
For those members who represent other organisations or represent people who live and work in the area, the following responsibilities also apply:
- Providing relevant advice, knowledge and expertise (where appropriate) to the partnership.
- Providing additional impact and contribution to the partnership from their parent organisation or other bodies.
- Acting as advocate for the partnership within their organisation and seeking to change practice and policy to the benefit of the partnership.
The ABL partnership group will appoint a resident Chair and two resident Vice Chairs on an annual basis at its first meeting after the AGM. The Chair and one of the vice-chairs must be independent of any attachment to the Local Trusted Organisation. In the case of there being only one vice-chair, this person must be independent of the Local Trusted Organisation. Nominations may be made by any partnership member, with the consent of the nominee, prior or at the meeting where the appointments will be made. Where more than one nomination is received, eligible members will vote by written ballot and the co-ordinator will count the votes and announce the result.
The Chair shall undertake to:
- Chair meetings in sympathy with the values and code of conduct stated within this document.
- Chair meetings in order to progress the formation, delivery and review of partnership plans and agreed business.
- Ensure that all members are encouraged and enabled to make contributions.
- Have a casting vote in meetings in the event of a vote being tied.
The Partnership Group will be quorate when a majority of the members are present and the majority of these are residents. Meetings can take place even if not quorate but votes cannot take place.
Decisions will normally be made by consensus. Where the Chair deems consensus to be unachievable within a reasonable timeframe, a decision will be made by those present and entitled to vote and will be binding provided that:
- It has been agreed by a majority of those present.
- Any decision relating to financial commitments to individual partners is only taken with their consent.
- The proposed actions fall within the statutory and regulatory framework governing the operations of the partner organisations.
Frequency of meetings
The ABL group will meet no less than six times a year, with additional meetings convened with the agreement of the Chair. Notice of these meetings and the minutes will be posted on the website. Sub-groups will aim to be responsive and will meet as and when required.
Purpose and Aims
The purpose of the partnership is to provide a single co-ordinating framework that:
- Agrees the long term strategic direction for Big Local in Allenton.
- Articulates and promotes the needs and aspirations of the local community through a shared vision.
- Prepares, implements and monitors the Allenton Big Local Plan.
The aim of the Partnership is to achieve the four outcomes set for the Big Local programme:
- Communities will be better able to identify local needs and take action in response to them.
- People will have increased skills and confidence so they can continue to identify and respond to local needs in the future.
- The community will work together to make a difference to the needs and issues it prioritizes.
- People will feel that their area is an even better place to live.
In fulfilling this aim the Partnership will:
- Bring together with local residents the different parts of the public sector with the private, voluntary and community sectors in a spirit of collaboration and mutual support.
- Promote the engagement of communities and citizens in all its work in a thoughtful, continuous and inclusive way.
All parts of the partnership structure will be guided by the following values:
- Openness, transparency and plain language.
- Equality of opportunity and social inclusion.
- Parity of esteem.
- Respect for similarity and difference in ways of working and the rightful place of legitimate conflict in partnership.
- Quality and excellence in everything we do.
- Co-operation and collaboration as the basis for community wellbeing.
- Supporting residents and people locally in improving their own communities.
All meetings shall be conducted with regard to accepted good practice and particularly the principles of openness, fairness and parity of esteem. Members will be expected to sign their agreement to the General Principles of Conduct (attached as Appendix). The ruling of the Chair shall be final. Partnership members will be expected to attend meetings and if they are unable to, will forward their apologies. Lack of attendance at meetings may mean that the member can be voted off the partnership group – this can only be done by advising the individual that this is going to happen and by the partnership group being quorate.
Declarations of Interest
- A member must declare an interest if he or she has a direct or indirect personal or financial interest in the matter under discussion.
- An interest must be declared at the beginning of the relevant meeting or as soon as the member is aware they have an interest. Interest must be declared clearly so that all members are aware of the interest and how it arises.
- Members should take no part in an item where they or any close associate might otherwise gain an unfair advantage. In such cases it will be for the member to withdraw from the room.
Circulation of Information
- A programme of dates for meetings shall be drawn up annually, so far as possible.
- Items for agendas for partnership meetings can be submitted to the Co-ordinator 10 days in advance of meetings and other items shall be determined by the Chair and Co-ordinator who will organise the meetings.
- Agendas will normally be sent to members in advance of each meeting although failure to meet this requirement will not invalidate the meeting. Agendas and papers will be sent by email.
- Copies of agendas and reports will be published on the Allenton Big Local website, except for: a) any item declared non-public by the agenda sub group. Notwithstanding a) above the partnership will comply with all relevant public information legislation.
- Minutes will be circulated after the meetings and with the next agenda.
- Notice of meetings will be published on the ABL website and a hard-copy notice provided at the Community Hub (when established). Notice will also be circulated electronically to neighbourhood and community groups, and through any resident who requests them.
General Principles of Conduct
Members should serve only the public interest and should never improperly confer an advantage or disadvantage on any person.
2. Honesty and Integrity
Members should not place themselves in situations where their honesty and integrity may be questioned, should not behave improperly and should on all occasions avoid the appearance of such behavior.
Members should make decisions on merit, including when making appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards or benefits.
Members should be accountable to the public for their actions and the manner in which they carry out their responsibilities, and should co-operate fully and honestly with any scrutiny appropriate to their membership.
Members should be as open as possible about their actions (and where applicable those of their parent organisation/authority) and should be prepared to give reasons for those actions.
6. Personal Judgment.
Members may take account of the views of others, including their political groups, but should reach their own conclusions on the issues before them and act in accordance with those conclusions.
7. Respect for Others
Members should promote equality by not discriminating unlawfully against any person, and by treating people with respect, regardless of their race, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.
8. Duty to Uphold the Law
Members should uphold the law and, on all occasions, act in accordance with the trust that the public is entitled to place in them.
Where applicable members should do whatever they are able to do to ensure their parent organisations/ authorities use their resources prudently and in accordance with the law.
Members should promote and support these principles by leadership, and by example, and should act in a way that secures or preserves public confidence.
Looking forward to the end of Big Local
Big Local is about half way through its life with some wonderful and powerful stories to tell of resident led action and change.
All investment within Big Local areas and the activities being funded must be completed by 31 March 2026. Any remaining money will be returned to the National Lottery. No funding can be put aside for activity or organisational support beyond March 2026. (Additional money that local areas raise through or on the back of Big Local can be used without conditions from Local Trust.) It’s possible and perfectly legitimate for your Big Local area to finish funded activity before March 2026 and such areas will have the continuing opportunity to remain part of the Big Local community and take part in learning and research activity.
You can read more about this in the article online here
Spending Out – Getting the most out of Big Local now and in future
Chris Falconer, Head of programme delivery at Local Trust, outlines what happens on the lead up to 2026 and beyond
The half way point
Big Local is now in its sixth year and approaching the half way point in the programme. Local Trust was set up in 2012 as the charity responsible for administering Big Local and as the programme, and partnerships working to deliver it in the 150 areas mature and become increasingly ambitious, we are seeing a huge range of activities that are empowering and improving the lives of people and their communities.
Naturally, when working on any project or programme thoughts turn to the future, or ‘legacy’ and how to plan for it. No more so than in Big Local which clearly sets out to create positive and lasting change. Whether this is an informal discussion within the partnership, working with partners to define long term aspiration in a plan, or working with other Big Locals at one of the clusters, a number of common questions are arising that this blog can help clarify.
Nothing quite like Big Local has ever existed before and as a programme it intentionally aims to reduce the rules and red tape to give residents the power and control over how best to use the £1million grant. There are, however, some clear parameters that govern the programme that we need be mindful of in planning over the next few years.
The programme will close in 2026
Big Local Trust was set up by the Big Lottery Fund as an expendable endowment, which means the money must be spent by March 2026. This is the fixed end point that all Big Locals must work to. Ultimately, the intention is for Big Local Trust to close as an organisation in February 2027, though we hope and expect many of the benefits within the 150 areas to endure well beyond this point.
This also means that all grant funding awarded under the programme, and activities supported by it, must be spent and finished by March 2026. There won’t be an option to transfer the £1million grant funding in any form beyond this point and any unspent money will need be returned to the Big Lottery Fund. This includes the additional £105,000 awarded to all areas in the autumn of 2017 to make the total grant of £1.1m. Clearly this is something we want to help all Big Locals avoid, as our priority is supporting partnerships to spend this money to achieve positive outcomes in their areas, so it’s important to plan with this in mind – particularly over the next few years when many will be drafting their penultimate or final plans. We would recommend aiming to ‘spend out’ by Autumn 2025, just in case there are any delays to any of the activities you are delivering.
A minimum 10 years on plan
Every partnership will have at least 10 years to spend their grant. There has been some confusion over whether this was a maximum or minimum timeframe.
If your plan was endorsed before 2016 you can spend the funding before ten years have passed or continue beyond that – we just ask that you spend the funding before March 2026. This should ensure partnerships have as much time, space and support as possible to achieve their ambitions, and also reflects the fact that we topped up all 150 grants as a result of the income earnt on the investment.
There will remain the flexibility to adapt and change plans up to the end point of the programme where it contributes towards achieving local priorities within the March 2026 timeframe.
Activities with a direct impact on the area
Money awarded through the Big Lottery Fund endowment has been done so with the intention that it is spent on activities within the 2012 – 2026 timeframe that have a positive impact on the area. We see a vast array of examples of this ranging from employing staff to work with and in the community and events and activities promoting participation, to the purchase of a hub or funding the improvement of the natural or built environment.
In thinking about legacy, some Big Locals have been exploring governance and legal possibilities to enable them to continue delivering work in future, either through the existing partnership or perhaps as a constituted body. While it is possible to use Big Local funding to explore options and potentially incorporate partnerships, Big Local money cannot be ‘awarded’ to any organisation to hold beyond March 2026 – it must be spent on activities directly related to the improvement of the area by this point or returned to the Big Lottery Fund.
Money raised separate to Big Local
We know that some areas have raised funds for their areas in addition to Big Local money. For example, through running community events or making social investments. This money is in addition to the grant funding awarded through Big Local and is therefore not subject to the same rules.
What if we spend out early?
Big Locals start from different points and progress at different paces. A number are likely to have spent all grant funding well in advance of the programme end date. Those areas that do so will still have plenty of opportunity to remain involved in the programme through the learning and networking programme we run over the remaining years, our evaluation and research projects and communications work showcasing the brilliant things Big Local has achieved.