Our Story

Submitted by webmaster on Sun, 15/05/2016 - 00:42




February 2020 We welcomed back Vic Askew from Maternity Leave
December 2019 Distington Christmas Light Switch On hosted by Distington Big Local (including Santa visit!)
December 2019 Annual General Meeting which included plans and designs of land development.
November 2019 Distington Big Local arranged a Christmas shopping coach trip to Newcastle MetroCentre
November 2019 The Whitehaven News published an article about our proposed new build in the village.
October 2019 Distington Big Local Volunteer Board Members attended the presentation of the Geoff Brown Innovation Award for our community led housing scheme.
July 2019 Housing Needs Survey carried out
July 2019 Distington FareShare scheme celebrated 1 year!
July 2019 Architect appointed.
July 2019 Weekly Men's Group established.
May 2019 Weekly Walking Group established. (Update - the Walking Group disbanded in October 2019).
April 2019 FareShare Volunteers launched the Uniform Exchange Scheme (taking pre-loved school uniforms from donors and passing them to those who find meeting the cost of school uniforms difficult).
March 2019 Lindsay Bodman commenced work as Project Assistant.  Lindsay is covering Vic's role (Vic is on Maternity Leave from April 2019).
February 2019 Funding secured from Homes England to help pay for full planning permission on the land.
September 2018 Community land plan event.
July 2018 Fareshare and Foodbank scheme is set up in partnership with Citizens Advice Bureau (Copeland) and Whitehaven, Egremont and District Credit Union.
October 2017 HLP Architects appointed to carry out Feasibility Study and Community Consultation on the land.
August 2017 Ingrid Morris (formerly Assistant Development Worker) began her new role as Project Manager and Vic Pooley a local Distington resident, began work as Big Local's Project Assistant. 
August 2017 Alan Lowe who had been Development Manager since December 2014 left his post as he moved away from the area. During Alan's time working on behalf of the Board, Big Local has witnessed many developments
June 2017  Consultations continued on development of former British Legion Land in preparation for engaging the local community in decisions on the future of the site.
February 25th 2017 Distington Big Local approved as competent to manage the Big Lottery funds (previously managed on our behalf by Cumbria CVS). Plans for 2017-18 also approved.
January 2017 The Big Local Board submitted a proposal for the work they wish to carry out from April 2017 - April 2018. The Board also applied to become more independent and handle their own finances (but will still need to keep submitting plans for approval before any funding is released)
December 2016 Distington Big Local completed purchase of the 1.8 acre site accessed via Church Road and formerly owned by the Royal British Legion.
November 2016 The Village Maintenance Project is extended again. As of December 2016 residents were able to request minor repairs which do not require a tradesman and which our handyman Ronnie Hewer feels confident to undertake. Charges to residents cover our costs only and allow for the fact that 'no job is too small'
September 16th 2016 Local Trust who administer the Lottery Funding Big Local received agreement to release the funds required for pursuing purchase of the former British Legion Land on Church Road Distington (see April 29th entry below)
September 16th 2016 The second Annual Meeting of Distington Big Local was held. Well attended by 51 residents. 7 current Board members were re-elected, 2 continued their 2 year terms and 6 new Board members were elected. 2 other residents joined the Young people and Families Sub Group.
September 2016

Distington Big Local applied for Charitable status with the Charity Commissioners for England and Wales. (* The application was refused on certain technicalities. The Board decided that this was not a high priority for now and will be reviewed in the future.)

June 2016 Distington Big Local Ltd is formed as a Not for Profit Company registered with Companies House (no. 10257726). This will be the delivery arm of Big Local implementing the plans of the Partnership Board and in the future enabling us to manage our own funding.
May 26th 2016 Local trust approved our latest Plan for funding from June – December 2016
April 29th 2016 PUBLIC MEETING - A piece of land owned by The Royal British Legion came up for sale. The land on Church Road was the site of the former British Legion Club. A public meeting attended by 66 residents was unanimous in mandating Big Local to seek to purchase the land for the village. A number of possibilities for development were also discussed. 
March 2016 Working with Arts Out West Big Local brought theatre to Distington with a performance of the nationally touring 'Chip Shop Chips' in the Community Centre. 
February 2016 Big Local granted £7,500 to Distington Parish Church of the Holy Spirit as 50% match funding for installation of toilet and kitchenette facilities. Church and community events held there will benefit from this necessary upgrade. 
November – December 2015 Great interest from the Whitehaven News and The Times and Star newspapers, both of whom did excellent 2 page spreads on the good work we are involved in. Very encouraging for the project.
November 12th 2015 Annual Review Day held at Club for Young people. The general feeling was that a good start had been made and that the foundations were well set for future years. Local Trust subsequently accepted the findings of our review and therefore future release of funding was secured.
November 1st 2015  We welcomed Ingrid Morris as our new Assistant Development Worker, working 25 hours per week for the project. Ingrid has good experience in community related work and we were excited about her becoming part of the team.
October 2015 Big Local awarded Distington Community Centre £6000 as 100% costs of solar panel installation and gifted staff time to manage the project.
August 2015 AGM  After reviewing the years work a new Board was Elected for 2015-2016 as follows - 
Resigned during the year (and with thanks for their contributions) 
Mary Smart, Robert Gates, Reg Gallagher
Re-elected – Rhoda Robinson (subsequently elected Chair), Norma Pritt, Mike Pritt, Alison Boyd, Annette Whitehead, Kathleen Sharpe, Josephine Greggain, John Bowman, Christine Pattinson (all residents), Julia Powley (Parish Vicar), John Cass (Home Group)
New Elected Members - Pat Nelson, Carl Cooper both local residents
July 2015 Our first Big Local Summer Fun day with BBQ. Around 250-300 of Distington Residents brought together for a really enjoyable afternoon. Thanks given to all who helped make it such a good day.
June 2015 Big local supports the Rugby Club contributing to 4 players and a coach being able to tour Serbia and South Africa with the Lions and The British Amateur Rugby League Association respectively. Well done gents!
May 2015 Began work on creating a healthy walk (1 mile) incorporating part of cycle track. (Project plans to include post markers, benches, nature trail, natural play park etc in the future).
May 2015 A local man was employed as handy-person to spruce up the village. (We hope to develop the project further over the coming years).
April 2015 Started an Advice Session on Tuesday afternoons in The Community Centre.
March 2015 Funding allocated to Distington Club for Young People for a 2 year period to continue their fantastic work.
February 2015 Big Local Community Chest Grant awarded to Distington Community Centre.
January 2015 Cumbria Council for Voluntary Services (CVS) appointed to oversee funding, employment etc. on our behalf.
  The Big Local Board decided in principal to become a charitable company. Consultation to happen soon and hopefully become incorporated by the end of 2016.
  A new 6 month Plan was agreed with Local Trust (Lottery Administrators)
December 2014 We said farewell to Dave Smith our Development Worker during the initial consultations.  Hello and welcome to Alan Lowe who was appointed to the role as we turned plans in to action.
December 2014 Distington Big Local Plan approved by The Local Trust (acting for the Big lottery).
August 2014 First AGM and election of Partnership Board.
June 2014 Appointed an Apprentice Administrator to assist in the work (local young woman).
Pre June 2014 SEE BELOW
Throughout 2013 Regular Steering Group meetings.
April - November Community Consultation undertaken (inc. Public meetings, newsletters etc).
September Opening of Community Cafe - Drop-in centre.
July - October Young Peoples consultation and related activities undertaken.
December Delivery of Village Profile & Vision and full results of community consultation.
December 13 / February 14 Development of Big Local Partnership: recruitment of members, development of constitution etc.
February / March 14 Recruitment of Local Trusted Organisation to be Responsible Financial Partner.
February 14 onwards Ensured local community is regularly updated (quarterly newsletters?) local meetings, community cafe etc.
February / April 14 Development of Big Local Plan, based on Community Consultation and, in turn, village profile & vision.
May 14 Big Local Plan agreed by community and partnership.
May 14 Big Local Plan agreed by Big Local Trust.
June 14 onwards Big Local actions: Projects identified via Big Local Plan, feasibility studies undertaken if required, match funding identified and secured. Projects delivered.
September onwards Hold regular community reviews of progress made – recruitment of ‘Community Challengers’?

Read more about what Big Local is all about. For more details about Local Trust, please visit their website here.