Big Society

Big Society is a term given to the Coalition Government's Policy idea that has an overall aim to enable greater empowerment in local communities and transfer power from politicians to the public.

Eden as a Vanguard Area

Eden has been chosen as a vanguard area for the Government's Big Society agenda because large parts of the community already work effectively with the District Council and other partners to improve the areas in which they live and work.

There are four vanguard areas in England: Windsor and Maidenhead, Liverpool, Sutton and Eden. Eden is 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, is through supporting community led-planning. The Council has in place a Community Action Plan 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 Plan will be supported. There is more information on how to develop a plan for your area on the community plan web pages.

Eden District Council's Leader, Councillor Gordon Nicolson said: "In Eden District in Cumbria, 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."

Initial Focus for Big Society

The initial focus will be on three areas within Eden District and specifically on the community plans they have developed. The three areas are the Lyvennet Valley Community Plan, the Upper Eden Community Plan and the Heart of Eden Community Plan.

The key to success of the initiative will be working with the communities to help enable them to deliver their aspirations in the community plans.

It is essential that not only the three areas benefit from this intense focus but the knowledge and good practice is shared across the rest of the District and with other similar communities in the Country. As part of this commitment, it is intended to develop a fourth strand of work to assist individual communities to address issues in their localities and make the information on how we do this widely available.

Information on each of the focus areas is available below. In addition, information can be found about the initiatives' progress can be found in the Big Society News section.

Find out more about the Lyvennet Community Plan Group, Upper Eden Community Plan Group and the Heart of Eden Community Plan Group.

For further information

Councillor Nicolson
Councillor Nicolson