Big Society

The LCT through the Lyvennet Community Planning Group has become involved in the Government’s Big Society initiative.

The LCT affordable housing scheme along with other community projects; pub cooperative, anaerobic digester, nursery provision etc were all seen as inspirational by our local MP, Rory Stewart.

He lobbied Government for three community groups in Eden, to become a vanguard for the ‘Big Society’. In July 2010 the Government announced that the Eden Valley; comprising Upper Eden, Heart of Eden and Lyvennet Valley Community Plan groups, had been selected as one of four pilot or vanguard groups for the initiative. The Cumbria, Eden Valley group is the only pilot which is completely community driven. Local authorities are leading the other three groups in Liverpool, Sutton in south London, and Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire.

The selection has created a substantial amount of press interest in the work of the LCT, given that the affordable housing project is by far the most advanced. In addition the LCT has had visits from Government Cabinet Ministers and advisors along with representatives from key Government Departments.

A team of key staff from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and Government Office North West (GONW) met with LCT Executive Members at the end of August. Their role is to work with the LCT, providing support and assisting with smoothing and removing some of the bureaucratic barriers to progress.

A further follow up visit was held on 5th November 2010 when DCLG staff along with further specialist advisors again met with LCT Executive Members and representatives of the community.

The LCT have already benefited with substantial support now being provided by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and Tenant Services Authority. The HCA NW Regional Director and HCA Chair have both visited the Stoneworks site and met with LCT Executive members  in October 2010.

We continue to be supported by Rory Stewart, MP and the Government team and their assistance is proving valuable in progressing the housing scheme. Eden District Council are also working to help deliver this and other community projects and to record the learning achieved for use with other communities in the Eden area, wider Cumbria and nationally.

10th August 2010 - The Eden Valley community representatives, including LCT with key government staff. Front row from left – Anton Draper DCLG), Rory Stewart MP, Kevin Douglas (CE Eden DC)

From Left – Nick Hurd MP Cabinet Minister for Civil Society,  Rory Stewart MP Penrith & Borders discussing the housing project on site with LCT Chair David Graham