The Big Local programme, managed by Local Trust, has given 150 underserved communities in England £1 million each over ten years for residents to decide how to spend and invest. In September 2017, Shared Assets was commissioned by Local Trust to research and provide support to Big Local areas who wanted to use some of their funds to take on ownership or management of land, buildings and green spaces.
We initially undertook research with Big Local areas who had undertaken land and building projects, in order to develop case studies and understand their motivations, challenges and aspirations. This research was published by Local Trust in the report, Activate! Land In The Hands Of Communities.
Informed by the research we developed a flexible and bespoke package of support for Big Local areas in order to support them through the complexities of acquiring and managing assets.
Examples of our work with Big Local communities include:
Ewanrigg Local Trust, Cumbria: Working with Ewanrigg Local Trust, in Cumbria to establish Hug-A-Mug, a new organisation to build a new facility within a local Health Centre from which to deliver community wellbeing services. The work has involved an options appraisal for the legal structure of Hug-A-Mug, its incorporation, and the development of lease and joint venture agreements with the Health Centre. We have also worked with them to put in place agreements with the Health Centre to protect the value of the community’s investment.
MPower Kernow, Cornwall: We supported a local entrepreneur in the Par Bay Big Local area to develop a new social enterprise to provide STEM skills training to disadvantaged young people. We undertook a feasibility study and supported them to develop a business plan and to secure a lease on workshop buildings and railway infrastructure to provide them with premises to develop a new training facility.
Ramsey Million Big Local: We supported Ramsey Neighborhoods Trust to develop a new cricket pavilion and general purpose community building developed as a joint venture with the cricket club. We worked with them to develop a business plan, joint venture agreement and establish a new Community Interest Company. The pavilion is currently under construction.