At least £1 million of Lottery good cause funding is to flow into Toothill in Swindon after the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) announced the first 50 areas across England to benefit from its Big Local Trust programme.
BIG is investing up to £200 million over the next ten years to help turn up to 150 urban and rural neighbourhoods into better places for everyone to live.
The targeted neighbourhoods have all been selected following extensive analysis and discussion and are all places where people face many social obstacles and have a history of difficulty in obtaining resources, including funding from BIG, to help overcome them.
Mark Cotton, Big Lottery Fund Head of the South West region, said, “The Big Local Trust is a dedicated Lottery funding stream to help people in neighbourhoods such as Toothill to identify local issues and to develop the skills and confidence necessary to change things for the better. We hope that by securing funding for the long-term and by offering a commitment to providing dedicated local support, the Big Local Trust will bring lasting positive changes to Toothill and its residents.”
An independent charitable trust will be set up to run the programme and BIG has called for expressions of interest from organisations who wish to apply to run the Trust. Organisations interested in becoming a Trustee are being asked to contact BIG by Thursday 12 August 2010.
In the meantime BIG will be working with a wide range of local organisations in each of the first 50 neighbourhoods. At least 50 more areas across England will be selected by BIG in the next 12 to 18 months to benefit from the programme.
Pictured, celebrating the people of Toothill. The Watchers by the late Carlton Attwood placed at Toothill Village Centre in 1981
Toothill & Westlea ward councillor Steve Wakefield said he is delighted that Toothill has been chosen for such a major investment. “It really is great news for the people of Toothill. I very much hope this will bring the people of Toothill together by joining existing local organisations, and discussing the issues faced by the community and coming up with ideas how to tackle the problems it has.
“We must await the formation of the trust who will administer these funds for all the neighbourhood projects across Britain, but it gives people an opportunity for the community to talk about its needs before applications for financial support can be made.”
Tina Mackie from Westminster Road said, “it’s brilliant news for Toothill. The lottery is going to help a lot of groups in the area and many many people are going to benefit from this development. It gives us the chance to make our community a better place to live. I’d like to see lots of groups talking about the needs of the area and discussing how projects can have an effect over the long term.”
Her husband Denis is chairman of Toothill Youth Club. He said, “lottery funds could help our club do more for the young people in the area. It means we could organise affordable activities for children aged 5 to 15 year. It’s very exciting.”
Cllr Brian Mattock, Swindon Council Cabinet Member for Housing, Community and Partnerships, added, “This is fantastic news for Swindon. Not only will it empower Toothill residents to make decisions on real issues that affect them, it will also give them a chance to forge stronger links with each other and organisations across the borough in support of the same cause – to help make Toothill a better place to live now and in the future.
“A trust will be set up within 15 months and then residents can set Toothill on the path to improvement by addressing social and economic concerns in the community, similar to Big Lottery funding work already undertaken in Penhill and Pinehurst. We hope to see the first wave of funding in October 2011 which means we can now start working with Voluntary Action Swindon and Swindon Racial Equality Council to ensure opportunities are available to Toothill residents and groups over the next ten years as part of this programme.”
South Swindon MP Robert Buckland said, “I am delighted to welcome this significant amount of funding for Toothill. I am very keen to ensure that those who will be given the task of administering the fund fully involve local residents from the beginning. I do not want to see a ‘top-down’ process here; let’s start by using The Link Magazine to reach out to Toothill for people’s ideas, for example. I look forward to doing whatever I can to make sure that this funding delivers meaningful improvements to Toothill.”
The big local programme builds on BIG’s commitment to pioneering flexible, long-term and locally determined approaches such as the Fair Share Trust programme, which since 2002, has been investing £50 million in 77 neighbourhoods across the UK.
For a full list of areas can be found at www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/BigLocalTrust
• The Big Lottery Fund (BIG), the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out half the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery. BIG is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since June 2004. The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
Since the National Lottery began in 1994, 28p from every pound spent by the public has gone to good causes. As a result, over £24 billion has now been raised and more than 330,000 grants awarded across arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.