Birchwood bags £1m community funds

An England-wide community programme will see the Birchwood area in Lincoln receive an investment of around £1 million over the next ten years.

The Big Local initiative identified Birchwood among 50 areas to benefit from funding, which will be delivered by Local Trust, a new organisation managing the £200 million endowment given by the Big Lottery Fund.

Local Trust will also set out their plan to work with residents in each area to decide how best to use the funding.

Big Local allows each area at least ten years to spend their £1 million investment.

Local areas will have to use a combination of grants and social investments such as loans and micro-finance to transform their community.

Big Local is a long-term programme to achieve lasting change in 150 small areas across England. The first 50 areas were announced in July 2010.

The new funding comes as YouGov figures published reveal that only 14% of English adults feel that that those traditionally responsible for decision-making in local areas – including local councils (10%), government (1%) or local MPs (3%) – know best about what is needed to make their community a better place to live.

The Big Lottery Fund-commissioned survey shows that the majority of people – 74% – think local people and community groups (local people (55%) charities and community groups (8%) or residents associations (11%)) know best.

A further 50 communities will be awarded funding through the scheme this year.

Areas can use the funds to provide a mixture of grants, social investments and support. Using social investment means that some of the money can be reused in the area again and again.

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney said, “This investment in Birchwood in Lincoln – some £1 million over the next ten years – is truly magnificent.

“The money will greatly enhance the hard work of our local ward councillors, Cllrs John Metcalfe, Jane Clark and Eddie Strengiel, to help ensure that the Birchwood area is an even better place to live, now and in the future,” he added.