Thanks to all of those who attended our 12 December Toothill Big Local open day where the key message was how the money works, writes committee chair Kareen Boyd who says it’s time to start making the Toothill million work for the community
So, what’s the current status?
In 2012 £1,002,000 was allocated to Toothill and to date we have spent under £70,000 on three years of grants, bursaries, administration, office rental, part-time administration, community engagement, a new website and development of an innovative online grant application system.
These costs are low because thousands of voluntary hours have been put in by the committee to streamline the Big Local process. Toothill now has one of the simplest Big Local processes in the country, and there over 150 similar projects.
It’s easy to submit a grant application and we can help you with this. Toothillbiglocal.co.uk gives the community control over which grant applications are supported. All you need is an initial registration on the web site and then you can vote for any of the grant applications you wish to support.
However, volunteers and part-time administration cannot work magic. If the community wants Toothill Big Local to do more this will have to be funded. But, community engagement can only work if the community engage.
Over 15 groups have expressed an interest in submitting grant applications – it’s unclear why they haven’t yet progressed.
The £1million plus interest has to cover all of Toothill Big Local’s running costs and the longer it takes to spend the money the more it will cost to administer. Our national governing body, the Local Trust, say that the million can be spent as quickly as the community wants but ideally by 2024 or 2026 at the latest as this is when the Local Trust shuts up the Big Local shop. By then whatever Toothill Big Local money is left will have to be returned.
At the end of 2015 Toothill has over £930,000 in the pot. Small grants alone are unlikely to consume this amount. Although there are some things we can’t do, there is a huge opportunity out there.
On 12 December we heard lots of great ideas to promote awareness and improve the local area and community facilities. We’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions at any time.
Big Local committee members are available to discuss ideas at Toothill Community Centron on Tuesdays or Thursdays, 10.30am to 3pm.
The Toothill Big Local Team would like to leave you with this thought, If the community does not use this money it will lose it. Simples!