Innovative Community Projects
In Chapter One, the Essex Local Delivery Pilot identified key evidence and insight around funding and commissioning within the system infrastructure. Partners emphasised that pilot funding needed to be tailored locally, to respond to the needs of the target audiences in the three test areas. Community leaders spoke about the term ‘invisible hand’ which allowed community groups to get on and deliver, with minimal red tape and bureaucracy.
In September 2019 the ELDP launched a micro grant programme across the 3 test areas, focusing on areas of deprivation, older people, families, and mental health. The micro grant programme was co-created by partners and community groups across the system, resulting in a simple application process which is based on the investment principles and target audiences.
A key principle of the LDP is to put local people in the driving seat and recognise them as the most important assets in any community. The LDP aims to invest in local, passionate people who want to use physical activity to make a positive difference in their neighbourhood and create social movements that make a big impact to the lives of inactive people. Most activities will happen at a very local level on specific streets or estates, or within a specific community of interest, such as mums with preschool children or older people with dementia.
The three ELDP Coordinators were put in post in each pilot area, to understand and work cohesively with those living in their districts, and over the life course have spent time building relationships and connections with local people. In regard to the micro grant funding, they have been able to discover innovative ideas and help co-produce projects. Each of the test areas have set up micro grant review panels to review applications, which include local partners and community members.
The micro grant programme has funded a diverse range of ideas, from testing app’s and walk and talk events, to drumming activities and equipment in care homes. It is their hope that the ELDP can help implement new and innovative ideas across the target audiences in Basildon, Colchester and Tendring. Communities are empowered to make decisions and be emboldened to remove anything that prevents activity. The ideas that are submitted for micro grant funding are generated from people within the community and therefore adhere to the needs of their residents. The micro grant programme funds grants of between £50 and £2,500, to address inactivity in hyper-local communities.
To read some of the micro grant projects that have taken place, click here.