National Management Trainee Katrina Rattu joined the London Borough of Bexley and is working in Stronger Communities. Here shares an update on Slade Green Big Local following a recent stakeholder engagement event.
The Slade Green Big Local is a lottery funded project run in partnership with the residents of Slade Green and Eastern Erith, with £1 million to spend over a 10 year period. Some council officers went along to the stakeholders meeting to see what they have accomplished towards the end of year 4 and how they are planning on leaving legacies in the area.
The Slade Green Big Local is an example of an empowered community with best practise of community based action in regards to resource allocation to meet local need. As a result they were able to identity 4 main visions for the area; community safety, local economy, community hubs and activities and open spaces and activities.
Slade Green and Eastern Erith has become a better place to live because they have pooled together their resources such as knowledge and skills to continually enhance and support the capacity of the area.
Lottery funding along with community organising has enabled the residents to design services around their needs. The local community has the ability to do so because the power lies with them. Examples of this include funding HGV courses; two people sent on the course have passed and are now in full time employment. Various other courses are funded such as booking keeping, child minding and football coaching.
With the project entering its fifth year, Slade Green Big Local is moving towards legacy projects such as a Social Enterprise Club, Slade Green Football Club, Slade Green Skate Park and it is even looking at the feasibility of a farm in Slade Green.
The social enterprises that are set up will enable the local economy to continually thrive after lottery funding ceases; the skate park will provide a shared public space for the young people of Slade Green for leisure that is monitored, helping to reduce anti-social behaviour. The Farm could improve food security in the local area by providing an accessible outlet for food that is affordable. All of these projects meet the needs of residents while feeding into their larger outcome of leaving a legacy.
Collective action has brought out the best of Slade Green and Eastern Erith. Likewise the residents are increasingly proud of the work carried out by the Big Local.
There is opportunity for the Council to support their work, especially in regards to community cohesion and improving relations with Slade Green and Eastern Erith. We can learn how they make decisions from a service design perspective as well as connecting the Slade Green community with other community groups. This will help to fill the knowledge and skills gap that the Slade Green Big Local are currently experiencing to help them make the right choices around designing and delivering complex legacy projects. Understanding each other is a priority to ensure sustainability post-Big Local funding.