Big Society is a term that was given to the Coalition Government's policy idea, with the overall aim of enabling greater empowerment in local communities and transferring power from politicians to the public.
Eden as a Vanguard Area
Eden was chosen as a vanguard area for the Government's Big Society agenda because large parts of the community already worked effectively with the District Council and other partners to improve the areas in which they lived and worked.
There were four vanguard areas in England: Windsor and Maidenhead, Liverpool, Sutton and Eden. Eden was the rural vanguard area.
Big Society, community empowerment and community engagement, regardless of the terminology, have all been happening in Eden for a very long time.
Eden's main approach to assisting the communities, particularly in the rural areas has been through supporting Community Led Planning. We have in place a Community Planning protocol which is a simple agreement between the District Council, County Council, Action with Communities in Cumbria (ACT) and the Lake District National Park as to how groups wishing to develop their own Community Led Plan will be supported. For more information on how to develop a plan for your area see community plan.
Our Leader at the time, Councillor Gordon Nicolson said: "In Eden, the Big Society is not a substitute for services at risk from cuts in public expenditure. It is all about harnessing the positive will and energy of local people to lead and deliver on their community's aspirations. This can range from more affordable housing to fighting to secure amenities such as the local pub."
Focus for Big Society in Eden
The focus was on three areas within Eden District and specifically on the community plans they had developed. The three areas were the Lyvennet Valley Community Plan, the Upper Eden Community Plan and the Heart of Eden Community Plan.
The key to success of the initiative has been working with the communities to help enable them to deliver their aspirations in the community plans.
Information on each of the focus areas is available below.
Find out more about the Lyvennet Community Plan Group, Upper Eden Community Plan Group and the Heart of Eden Community Plan Group.