Friday 14 December 2012

A £1m opportunity and challenge for Wembley Central

The £1m plus grant to improve the Wembey Central area is good news.  Attempts at reviving the area have had only limited success with the Cooperative Society closing its new Central Square store only a short time after its opening.

There are are now a number of closed shops and much office accommodation remains unoccupied with more to come when Brent council buildings are vacated next year. Current vacant spaces in the Wembley area can be seen on the Coming Soon website HERE

As a teacher in the area though, I was most aware of the poor and over-crowded housing with some of the worse short-term accommodation above the shops on the High Road.

The £1m comes from the Big Local programme funded by the national lottery and managed by Local Trust

The local focus of the project is premised on local involvement and a key issue will be how the priorities of local residents will be ascertained. Campaigning in the area during elections and by-elections I often found residents uninterested in local issues with the transient nature of the population a limiting factor. It will be a real challenge to get a representative level of involvement and a viable vehicle to share and prioritise ideas but the promise of tangible pay-offs should help.

This is what Big Local sets out about how the programme works:
What is Big Local?

Big Local is an exciting opportunity for residents in 150 areas around England to use at least £1m to make a massive and lasting positive difference to their communities. It’s about bringing together all the local talent, ambitions, skills and energy from individuals, groups and organisations who want to make their area an even better place to live.

Big Local is being run by Local Trust, which is working with £200m from the Big Lottery Fund and a range of partners providing expert advice and support for residents.

The four programme outcomes for Big Local are:
  1. Communities will be better able to identify local needs and take action in response to them.
  2. People will have increased skills and confidence, so that they continue to identify and respond to needs in the future.
  3. The community will make a difference to the needs it prioritises.
  4. People will feel that their area is an even better place to live.
What’s it not about?

It’s NOT about your local authority, the government or a national organisation telling you what to do.

It’s NOT about individual groups fixing their favourite problem without talking to a wide range of different people who live and work in the community.

It’s NOT about short-term thinking – you’ve got 10 years or more to plan and deliver the best options for your area.

No comments: