COASTAL COMMUNITIES CLUSTER
Big Local North Cleethorpes is participating in a Local Trust led Network which includes Coastal Big Local areas from across England
Clearly Cleethorpes is a Coastal Town, and whilst many issues and opportunities in and around Cleethorpes are the same as many other places, some are very directly related to its position and circumstances as a coastal community.
Big Local North Cleethorpes (BLNC) was invited by Local Trust (funder for Big Local nationwide) to join up with a Coastal Communities Cluster earlier in 2018 and we’ve been delighted to be able to participate in this unique exercise.
The Coastal Communities Cluster comprises Big Local areas from a dozen coastal towns around the UK. These coastal towns are as far apart as Dover and Blackpool, but all are coastal areas that are receiving Big Local funding and have similar issues and opportunities.
Participating Big Local areas in this Cluster or network have committed to meeting up four times during the year at major learning conferences to share knowledge, exchange ideas, support each other and hopefully take away practical support for our own Big Local areas.
The conferences are being led by NEF (The New Economics Foundation) and supported by the team at Local Trust. There have been three conferences so far – two in London and the latest in Scarborough (October 2018). The final of the planned conferences will take place in Medway in early February 2019.
Representatives from BLNC have attended each of these conferences so far. There have been briefings and workshops, presentations and discussions and very importantly, a huge number of chances to network with the other coastal Big Local areas. Ideas are beginning to flow about how to benefit North Cleethorpes from this.
Benefits and actions arising
A major benefit to BLNC is simply being able to share problems and ideas and hear from other coastal towns about their own ideas and programmes. We’ll report through our news blog as specific actions arise, but some of the current thinking includes:
Several coastal areas are exploiting Beach Huts for community use. BLNC is working with VANEL and will liaise with other areas (Whitley Bay in particular) to explore ideas for this in North Cleethorpes.
There are cluster discussions proceeding on the best ways to engage MP’s across the country to champion the needs of Coastal communities. This may be along this lines of creating an All Party Parliamentary Group focusing on coastal issues and this is at the early stages of discussion.
Everyone has a focus on environmental issues (especially plastic reduction and cleanup) so there is a lot of sharing of ideas on this across the cluster which we will turn back into potential actions within North Cleethorpes.
The English Coast Path (ECP) will cover the entire coastline of England by the end of 2019 – and that includes running through Cleethorpes. We’re connecting with our other coastal towns and Natural England on this to see how we can best use the ECP as it passes through North Cleethorpes to engage our communities.
There are a range of support networks and funding opportunities that are specifically targeted at coastal communities. Through the cluster we are connecting better to these groups and hope that over time this can translate into additional funding for initiatives in North Cleethorpes.
Many other initiatives have been discussed within the Cluster and we’ll report back on these as they turn into actions.
Information about the Coastal Communities Cluster is on the Local Trust website here.
Ian Brocklebank is the lead on this initiative from Big Local North Cleethorpes – please speak to him if you have any queries about the local connection to the Cluster.
Investment from Big Local
Participation in the Coastal Communities Cluster comes at essentially no cost to your Big Local area. All travel and other expenses for all participants are being met by Local Trust and do not come from the funding allocated to North Cleethorpes. BLNC representatives are attending and participating in voluntary capacity or in time already paid for elsewhere. So rest assured that participating in this cluster is providing North Cleethorpes with completely added value.