We don’t often report on annual general meetings, but Big Local North-East Hastings is an organisation that decides how £1 million of lottery money is spent. As a resident-led partnership, this has a big impact on the community in that area. And for those who have yet to come across Big Local, with schemes in 150 areas throughout the country, the Big Local website describes their aims as “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.” 

Much of the meeting related to support for residents during the pandemic. Richard Street, Chair of HastingsBig Local said he was humbled to hear how much work was being done to help those suffering during the pandemic: “It’s great to know that, when the chips are down, there are wonderful people in our local community who step up to help.” 

Big Local funded ten organisations through its Small Grants Scheme which allocates £20,000 in two tranches each year. Family support projects included: activity packs delivered in Downs Farm and Broomgrove; additional food and supplies distributed at the Food Collection Service based at Broomgrove Community Centre; enabling access to online youth clubs, drumming workshops and creative puppet workshops through the provision of tablets and broadband. Tablets were also provided to Big Local residents staying in St Michael’s Hospice to ensure family contact through lockdown.

The lack of Wi-Fi connections, hardware and the knowledge to use them
was a common theme identified by the projects: “This causes a major problem by further excluding many people who are already excluded financially and socially,” commented Richard Street, pointing out that these are issues which Big Local is proud to address. 

For more information visit biglocalnortheasthastings.org.uk

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