Decision-making structure in place to Big Lottery Grant will benefit the whole area
Despite suggestions in the local media, based on rumour and unnamed sources, that Toothill is riven with community disputes about how a £1 million Big Local lottery grant is to be spent, the fact is that a decision-making structure is now in place to ensure the money can be spent for the benefit of the whole area.
The Lottery announced in August 2010 that Toothill and another 149 communities around Britain would each receive £1 million to be put towards community development projects over a ten year period. Since then two Big Local festivals have been organised in conjunction with Toothill Primary School, many consultation meetings have taken place, as well as short term projects such as holiday play schemes, a tea dance for seniors in the area and the creation of a long poem about Toothill by youngsters from four schools.
Big Local Partnership Group
These were funded by extra lottery money as part of a consultation period whilst community groups discussed and agreed a decision making structure. There is now a Big Local Partnership Group made up of 11 people with the majority living in Toothill. This will consider funding applications for projects based on community benefit criteria.
It is now drawing up an action plan based on all the consultation that has been going on and setting spending priorities for the national Big Local trust which will release funds for projects.
The Toothill Big Local Steering Committee set up in late 2010 continues to meet as an open forum for discussions about what the area needs, with sub-groups to develop applications for funding.
A corner has been turned
Big Local representative Helen Garforth said: “It’s been a long time in development but it feels like a corner has been turned. The formation of the partnership group means there is a decision-making body to work with all residents, as required by the Big Local Trust.
“There is a determination to respond to the main themes that are emerging: the need to give young people in Toothill a better chance to succeed, and to break through the sense of isolation felt by quite a few people living in the area.”