Local Rep Report October – December 2021
As your Big Local Rep, every three months I share my thoughts on local area progress with you as residents and with the central team managing the national programme. Your comments and thoughts are always welcome.
The big picture
The Big Local community got a boost in the autumn. We benefited from continuing partnership face to face meetings and the opening up of activities and events. And Big Local Connects went ahead in late October in Nottingham, bringing together 117 of 150 Big Local areas, with nearly 400 people taking part. There was joy in reunion, sharing experiences and learning, including about how communities had pulled together during the worst of Covid. You can hear some of the highlights through Chris Allen’s radio broadcasts. The four Big Local national Connects events (last year’s being via Zoom) have greatly strengthened the joint purpose across Big Local, validating the power and effectiveness of resident-led decision making.
Evidence is growing of what it takes to establish and to sustain resident-led change. These include crucial resident leadership, consistent support of the legally accountable body, the Local Trusted Organisation, and the role of the paid worker to help co-ordinate activity. One of the massive spin offs or added value is the growth in Big Local areas of volunteering. Not just through the partnership but through increased activity of groups and projects it supports and funds.
Allenton Big Local is working well, welcoming a new resident member in the autumn. The annual partnership review indicated four key elements working well together: sound leadership underpinned by clear vision and values; effective management of contracts, funding and reporting; positive action and activity to the benefit of residents through close working with key delivery partners; and ever improving communications with a wider cross-section of residents, including through hard copy newsletter delivered to every home, web and social media presence.
Allenton Big Local has completed the draft of its current plan review, to be signed off and submitted to Local Trust in January 2022. All major activities are running well and the quarterly reports were approved by the partnership in October. Heather Russo’s interview with Chris Allen at Big Local Connects highlighted the success and importance of the dance troop which gave a performance for the partnership in thanks for its support and funding. Vital support and mentoring with young people at risk and in trouble has continued through Project Lockdown.
These coming three months will focus on building the new plan, putting out a draft to all residents in late January and submitting the final version to Local Trust by the end of February. The emerging three headlines for the plan are: to tighten the remit of spend and focus activity with an eye to sustainability; put in place a series of events with partners to celebrate and share achievements and learning; and to ensure everything is in order and in place to end the Big Local programme in Allenton in a timely and well managed way, probably toward the summer of 2023.