Around 2010 people began to think that a lot of funding for community development and cultural projects was being spent in the wrong way. Too much was coming from the top down and there wasn’t enough decision making at a grass roots level, especially in more disadvantaged areas.
So in 2015 the Big Lottery Fund set out to change this with their pioneering Big Local programme. Across England, 150 neighbourhoods that had traditionally been overlooked by lottery funding were given £1 million to spend however they wanted over a 10 year period. Poplar’s very own Aberfeldy Estate was chosen to be part of the program and the Aberfeldy Big Local Partnership was formed.
We met up with Aberfeldy resident and chair of the partnership, Kim Nguyen, to find out what the Aberfeldy Big Local is all about, and what it’s like to be involved.
MyPPLR : So Kim, what is Aberfeldy Big Local?
Kim: I think Aberfeldy Big Local is different things to different people, and that’s what’s so great about it. It can be whatever you want it to be. For me, it’s a place where local people can have a say about their community and how they want to make it into an even better place to live.
MyPPLR: As chair of the partnership what’s you role?
Kim: My main responsibility is to lead meetings and help the board of residents to collectively make decisions about the direction of the programme, how we want to spend our money and get people involved. I was born and bred on the Aberfeldy so it’s a great feeling working with my neighbours to really empower this community.
My PPLR: What is the Aberfeldy Big Local focusing on now?
Kim: Right now we’re looking at engaging residents from across the Aberfeldy and working out how we can make the Big Local as fun and appealing as possible. Our strategic priorities at the moment are community cohesion and making the Aberfeldy as welcoming a place as possible. So we’ve had a few different events to get people out of the house and spending time together. A couple of weeks ago we had the Aberfeldy Big local Fun Day which went really well. And next week we’ve got a large community meal taking place in the church. So there’s a lot going on, and we’ve got big plans for the next few years.
My PPLR: What’s your favourite thing about being involved in the Big Local?
Kim: I think really it’s just the scope of the project. The point is that, as a partnership, we can take it in the direction we want, and we have the resources to get stuff done. It’s such a unique opportunity!
If you’re a resident of the Aberfeldy estate and what to get involved in the partnership then get in touch with the Big Local engagement worker Liam at firstname.lastname@example.org.