What is Big Local?

Big Local is a Lottery funded programme that has given £1m each to 150 areas across England to spend on whatever the local community think is most important.

The Growing Together Big Local programme covers Blackthorn, Goldings, Lings, Lumbertubs and Overstone Lodge estates. That’s the old Lumbertubs Council ward. It started in 2013 and we expect that it will complete its work in 2020.

How are decisions taken on how to spend the money?

All spend decisions are taken by a Community Partnership, which is a standing sub-committee of the Growing Together Board. All members of the Partnership are either residents of the area or have recently been local residents.

The budget and work programme have always been closely based closely on what local people have told us they think needs doing in the area. Since we started, we’ve knocked on hundreds of doors, held scores of events and through all our work we’re constantly listening out for what people have to say about how the quality of life here can be improved.

We also have a Community Grants Fund to which organisations working locally can apply for money to do exciting new things. In this way we’ve funded 28 organisations (as of March 2018), ranging from unregistered community groups through to local schools and the Police. To find out more, either download an application and guidance form here or e-mail peter@growingtogether.org.uk

 

What sorts of things have we spent the money on so far?

Some of our bigger and better known projects include:

  • new play areas at Rillwood Court, Birds Hill Road, Goldings Road, Foxcovert Wood and outside Blackthorn Community Centre
  • the exercise equipment by Cygnet Lake on Billing Brook Road
  • Brookside Community Hub
  • youth clubs run by Free 2 Talk and older people’s clubs run by Age UK Northamptonshire
  • the covered outdoor play area and other support for the BGN Nursery in Blackthorn
  • the forthcoming improvements to the three lakes in Swanhaven Park, along Billing brook

You can see all the projects we’ve funded by clicking the Growing Together Projects tab.

 

Is it all about spending the £1m from the Lottery?

No, we’ve also led the development of the Neighbourhood Plan for our area. This is based on extensive community consultation and was finally approved following a local referendum in February 2017. It had a supporting majority of over 91%.

The Council are legally required to take it into consideration in deciding on planning applications. It therefore makes sure that what local people do and don’t want to happen in the area has a real influence on planning decisions.

Because of the Plan, the Council are also obliged to consult us on all planning applications. When a big one comes in, like the housing development on the former Emmanuel School site, we spread the word so that nearby residents know what’s going on and have an opportunity to make their views known.

You can download a copy of the Neighbourhood Plan here

Who can I contact to find out more about the Big Local programme?

The Programme Co-ordinator is Peter Strachan. His e-mail address is peter@growingtogether.org.uk and his phone number is 075-8181-3137.

Alternately, you can speak to Danielle Reeves at Brookside Community Hub at the Billing Brook Road shops. The Hub’s opening hours can be found under their tab on this website.