Big Local £1m
The Growing Together Big Local programme
Big Local is a Lottery funded programme that has given over £1m to each of 150 areas across England. The money can be spent on whatever the local community think is most important.
We were fortunate enough to be chosen as one of these 150 areas. Our Big Local programme covered Blackthorn, Goldings, Lings, Lumbertubs and Overstone Lodge estates. Work started in November 2012 and was completed by June 2020. A small amount of money has been held over for repairs, unforeseen problems and new priorities.
All spend decisions were taken by a group called the Community Partnership. All members of the Partnership were either residents or former residents of the area. The Partnership merged with the Growing Together Board in April 2018. Any remaining decisions will therefore be taken by the resident members of the Board.
The things we chose to spend the money on were based closely on what local people said needed to be done in the area. Over the eight years of the programme we knocked on hundreds of doors, held scores of events and were constantly listening to what people had to say about how life here can be improved.
The Lottery money paid for the following things:
- new play areas at Rillwood Court, Birds Hill Road, Goldings Road, Foxcovert Wood and outside Blackthorn Community Centre
- the exercise equipment by Cygnet Lake, along Billing Brook Road
- enabling the BGN Nursery on Blackthorn to meet its fundraising target for opening its doors
- the opening and running of Brookside Community Hub for its first four years
- new youth activities run by Free 2 Talk, Silhouette Youth Theatre, Impact Now, Scouts, Guides and Brownies, and Reelscape (now Screen Northants)
- new older people’s clubs run by Age UK Northamptonshire
- covered outdoor play areas at the BGN Nursery and Woodvale School
- environmental and performance areas at Lings School
- extensive improvements to the three Billing Brook lakes to protect biodiversity and make them more sustainable (this work was co-funded by Northampton Borough Council, the Environment Agency, the Mick George Landfill Community Fund and community fundraising by Brookside Residents Council)
- 74 grants totalling £103,349 made to 29 different local organisations to pay for community activities and facilities that would not otherwise have gone ahead
As well as spending the Lottery money, at least a further £1,755,000 was raised either by ourselves or by organisations we funded to keep the work going after the Lottery money had been spent
To find out more, click here to contact us.
What sorts of things have we spent the money on so far?
• New play areas at Rillwood Court, Birds Hill Road, Goldings Road, Foxcovert Wood and outside Blackthorn Community Centre
• Exercise equipment by Cygnet Lake, Billing Brook Road
• Brookside Community Hub
• Youth clubs run by Free 2 Talk and older people’s clubs run by Age UK Northamptonshire
• Covered outdoor play area and other support for the BGN Nursery in Blackthorn
• Forthcoming improvements to the three lakes in Swanhaven Park, along Billing Brook
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.
Who can I contact to find out more about the Big Local programme?
You can contact us via the contact form (Click here)
Alternately, you can speak to Danielle Reeves at Brookside Community Hub at the Billing Brook Road shops. Click here for the Hub opening hours.