In 2010, 150 areas across Great Britain were invited to apply to join ‘Big Local’, a resident led programme of investment in local communities using funding from BIG Lottery, distributed by Local Trust.
The idea was that as local people are the experts on their own neighbourhood then they should have a say in how money is spent there.
Between 2011 – 2012 residents and local organisations came together to become a steering group and RWT was born! We spent a long time understanding our community through a wide-ranging programme of consultation with local residents.
This formed the basis of our successful application to join the Big Local programme, and in 2012 Rudheath and Witton Together were awarded our £1.1 million grant, to be spent on our area over the next ten years.
There are relatively few conditions on how the £1 million can be used, but everything we do must meet the outcomes set by our funders.
Local Trust believe that residents should be able to make decisions about things which affect them, to come up with the most effective solutions to local problems and take action when things need to change. There’s a lot more information on their website.
Overall the aim is for local people to invest the money to make Rudheath and Witton an even better place to live and work, now and in the future.
Our early consultation formed the basis for our first ‘action plan’, which ran from 2013-2015. This was our first Phase of work, and saw us support lots of different projects, mainly by giving grants to other organisations. This meant that a lot happened on the ground, but local people didn’t always feel they could get involved with RWT unless they were interested in those specific projects.
Over this period we invested £226,627.
There’s more information about our Phase one plan and projects here.
In 2015 we looked back at what we’d achieved, and talked to a lot of our residents and partners about how they felt we were doing.
Based on all this we made some decisions about what we needed to do differently in the future, and what our priorities should be for our next action plan.
For our 2016-18 action plan we tried to mix funding ‘projects’ with commissioning work or services which we felt addressed local need. Again we did some really interesting and effective work, but we would have liked to have been a bit more flexible over the period – a lot was agreed upfront.
We agreed we should support lots more community events and activities, and make sure people know how to get involved in these – or even run them themselves.
It was also crucial we had someone ‘on the ground’ – and our Engagement Officer Katy made huge progress in raising awareness of RWT and Big Local in the area.
Over this period we invested £339,714
There’s more information about our Phase two plan and projects here.
Our action plan for 2018-2020 really builds on the lessons we have learned from our work so far, from some of the challenges we faced during our first few years, and the successes that followed.
We’re really going back to basics, prioritising individuals and making sure everything we’re doing is genuinely led and owned by the people who live here. We’re going to be much more relaxed and less issue driven, as well as more flexible and responsive. And if nothing else, let’s make it fun!!
We’ve allocated around £353,630 to this plan.