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New opportunities to learn and develop

Introducing Big Local Learning and Networking 2018

February 2018

Big Locals are tackling big issues, and that means making the most of the opportunities and assets in your area and overcoming significant challenges. With the new Big Local Learning Clusters, you don’t have to face them alone.

By joining a cluster, you will:

  • connect with a supportive group of other Big Locals
  • learn about how to put your ideas into practice or take a project you're involved in to the next level
  • be part of a group of areas that can learn and develop from each other
  • access the experiences, learning and expertise of others
  • build on your existing expertise and gain technical knowledge
  • identify opportunities for collaboration and co-funding
  • create meaningful connections with others involved in Big Local
  • have access to a safe space to share challenges, find solutions and work practically together

We’ve designed four Learning Clusters initially, covering topics that Big Locals have prioritised in their plans but can sometimes feel ‘too big’ to tackle alone.

As part of the Learning Cluster you’ll meet up four times over a year. At the first meet-up, you’ll discuss how you want to learn and what you’re interested in. We’ll then work with you to share inspiring stories, learning and experiences, motivate one another, build skills and engage with people that have had success. This means:

  • the programme content will be developed in response to the applications from participants;
  • the participant group will be mixed in membership and may include, Big Local workers; partnership members; partner organisations
  • all information collected; discussion held, and learning will be anonymised and only used for learning purposes

In between the meetings you can also use the new Big Local social network, Workplace, to keep the conversation going. After a year, we hope you’ll have been supported to achieve something great and will take the opportunity to share what you’ve learnt with other Big Locals.

If you have a suggestion for a cluster, we’d love to hear it. You can email us or join the conversation on Facebook by joining the group “Working on Big Local”.

Your Big Local legacy

No matter what stage you are in your journey, it is never too early or too late to think about and plan for the legacy of your Big Local.

Research conducted last year with Big Local areas found that groups wanted to create a legacy by planning now for year 11, thinking about paid staff, becoming constituted bodies, strengthening local networks, investing in future generations, and developing long term plans for promising projects.

Using these findings, Local Trust will develop resources, facilitate discussions and bring in ‘experts’ to support the group to explore their Big Local legacy and develop an action plan.

Your Big Local Legacy North: the first meeting will be held on 14 March in Leeds

Your Big Local Legacy South: the first meeting will be held on 21 March in London

Better Homes and Building Homes

Please note: this was first advertised as two clusters, and had since been merged into one

England is currently suffering a massive housing crisis. A lack of affordable and quality housing is putting pressure on communities. Empty properties and absent landlords sap life from streets. When new developments do appear, they seem to offer little to existing residents.

Now, you have the chance to take action in your community by joining the Better Homes and Building Homes Learning Cluster.

Better Homes and Building Homes

In Better Homes and Building Homes, you’ll learn how to work with key stakeholders in Local Government, the public sector and private sector to improve the quality homes in your area and enable new homes to be built.

You might connect with a Big Local working with landlords to boost the energy efficiency of homes, put in place a planning policy to make sure local homes go to local people, or build a relationship with the council to make sure new development or regeneration meets local needs.

For those looking to build homes, you might set up a Community Land Trust, partner with local housing developers or even training young people to renovate empty homes. You might be just starting out on your project or have recently secured a big win.

Either way, by meeting with others, you’ll get chance to talk about your experience and bring in expert advice to begin to improve housing in your area.

First event: 12th March
Location: Birmingham TBC – depending on participants

Addressing youth violence within the community

Many Big Local partnerships have identified issues around youth exploitation and violence in their areas, sometimes related to crime, sex and trafficking, and gang and group violence.

This learning cluster will bring together residents and partners to develop community-based solutions, drawing on their skills and experience of working with young people and in their communities. You will also develop their networks and support structures, strengthen their practice and build confidence to address these issues in Big Local areas and beyond. The learning cluster may choose to focus on:

  • Young people who are exploited, recruited and groomed to participate either willingly or unwillingly in sexual, criminal, gang or group related activity
  • Exploitation of young people, many of whom are vulnerable and from strong family backgrounds
  • The methods of recruitment and operation by organised groups
  • Young people who are exploited into criminal activity including young refugees
  • How and whether grooming is something happening in and affecting the Big local community

First event: 17th April
Location: TBC – depending on participants

Developing Coastal Communities and Economies

Note: this cluster is aimed at Big Locals that are near to, or have a strong connection with, the coast.

There’s huge potential on the coast to build more sustainable economies that can deliver good jobs, increased wellbeing and a healthier marine environment. With NEF, which is launching the UK’s first Centre for Coastal Economies in 2018, you will explore the challenges and opportunities of your coastal Big Local. With other Big Locals with a connection to the coast, as well as other communities harnessing their unique coastal assets, you will develop a network that will support you now, and in the future.

At the end of the year, you will have gained bespoke advice on economic development and coastal issues, new connections, support and inspiration to deliver exciting, enduring community projects built around thriving seaside economies.

First event: TBC – depending on participants Location: TBC – depending on participants


How do I join?
If you’re interested in joining any of the clusters, or have suggestions for another cluster, email us.

Does it cost anything to join?
The programme is free to join and costs associated with attending sessions (e.g. travel, accommodation, childcare) will be covered by Local Trust.

What is the time commitment?
Each group will meet four times a year. Ideally, the same person would attend each event, but if you don’t think you can commit to all of them, you can nominate someone to attend in your place.

Who can join?
Anyone that lives or works in a Big Local can attend, but it’s expected that the cluster topic has been raised as an issue in your community.


Are you interested in telling a story about an issue you’re passionate about but need help? If you’re from a…

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