Mottingham Big Local

This is Mottingham’s 2024-2026 Big Local plan, made with help from Interrobang. The aim is to build upon our achievements and work towards a sustainable legacy.


  1. The context
  2. Costed vision
  3. Action plan
  4. Legacy statement

Letter from the chair

I am fortunate to have been asked to Chair Mottingham Big Local Refocused, and to work alongside a growing number of commited residents who have volunteered their time to ensure that the funding available from Local Trust has been targeted at identified local needs.

This Plan is the result of extensive local consultation undertaken by MBLR’s two staff members and Interrobang, the consultancy engaged to write it. It encapsulates the creditable contribution that MBLR funded provision has delivered over the past three years, what has has been achieved, and its widespread impact.

MBLR’s success has been increasingly due to working in partnership with a range of organisations to deliver provision, and this will be fundamental to the way ahead.

We are coming to the end of the MBLR journey, and look forward to leaving a lasting inclusive legacy that is able to respond to local needs as the community’s changes and its population becomes more diverse.

Undoubtedly, there is the appetite to establish a sustainable successor organisation and community hub as a focal community asset.

As a Partnership Board we are committed to working to turn this Plan and Vision into a comprehensive range of provision that MBLR will deliver, targeted at improvements in health and wellbeing, economic empowerment, employability and green space to benefit all parts of our community.

—John Westby

1. The context

What is Big Local?

Big Local gave 150 neighbourhoods £1 million in National Lottery funding, including Mottingham.

Unlike other funding programmes, Big Local comes with a remarkable amount of leeway in how we use the money. We can fund whatever is most important to us: parades, credit unions, enterprise zones, shop fronts and training programmes.

But Big Local is coming to an end. How can we keep the best parts going?

What our last plan did

This plan will build on our achievements.

Our most recent plan focused on three things: the economy, our people, and the place.

It’s enabled us to support young people, undertake intergenerational activities, hold events and support local community organisations.

Our projects have improved skills and employability, supported children with special needs and encouraged culture and artistic skills in our community. We are proud of these achievements and aim to upon build these in our new plan.

Our vision

The funding and current programme must end in March 2026.

We are committed to using the balance of our funds creatively, to build upon what you as residents have told us you like and value.

But, equally we want to use the remaining time as a partnership to plan for the future. We want to make a new resident-led successor organisation, independent of Big Local but absolutely instrumental to Mottingham’s future.

This new democratic organisation will follow through on the best of what we’ve done, but it will advocate for and truly represent Mottingham and its people, and encourage further investment into our area. And we want to lay the foundations for that new organisation starting right now…

Understanding Mottingham

Mottingham is nestled between Eltham and Bromley in south-east London. Nearly half of us live in the most deprived 20% of areas of England. The average for London is just 16%.

We have more single parent families and twice as many under-24 benefit claimants as the London average. Far fewer of us go into higher education.

Our older people are lonelier and struggle to access more vital services.

Only 4% of Mottingham is green space, compared to 14% for London as a whole. Even our lives are shorter: a Mottingham resident will live 3-4 fewer years than the national average.

Priority community needs

There is no shortage of problems to solve, but the need to be honest about what we can realistically address is greater than ever.

Through research and consultation with residents, we’ve chosen seven community needs that we think should be our focus. These needs are wide-ranging and interconnected. They won’t be solved in isolation.

You will see them crop up again and again in this plan: we’ll be tailoring everything we do to meet one or more of them, and measuring these needs will be how we keep track of our progress.

2. Costed vision

This plan is about making foundations.

Space is at a premium everywhere in London, but the problem is particularly serious here.

Space was the one theme that came up again and again in our meetings and discussions.

To feel like home, a neighbourhood needs to have a hub.

That hub doesn’t have to be a building that we own or even rent. The need is deeper than that.

It’s about not having to turn people away because events are at capacity. It’s not having to turn down people with good ideas because there’s simply nowhere to host them.

Space is the most important foundation this plan will lay out: all the others feed into it.

Space means

Making a hub for the community

We’ll look at affordable meanwhile leases on vacant spaces, as well as using our position at the heart of Mottingham to lobby landlords, (including our local council) on behalf of residents.

This is important to anchor us in the community.

Providing equal access to that hub

Residents have no shortage of ideas for how to use a hub, from employment to food.

We won’t be able to do them all, so we will need to be deliberate and considered in what we choose to use it for.

We’ll make sure the process for making these decisions is democratic and inclusive.

Funding work that carefully considers space

Mottingham is only 4% green space (compared to 14% for London generally).

We’ll be prioritising grant applications that either make the best possible use of the outdoor lawns and parks we do have, or show another good plan for dealing with the lack of space.

Moving here from Lewisham, I thought, there's no hub A resident

We'll make this happen by:

A. Getting our message across

Our neighbourhood has countless stories that deserve to be told.

We want to get better at telling stories about our community, celebrating our residents’ lives and giving Mottingham an identity that goes beyond the statistics.

We will need new skills to do this well, so we’re going to look at working with professionals: community journalists and social media champions who can raise our profile to ensure visibility and accessibility to champion our work.

We want to capitalise on new kinds of media as well as classics like newsletters and flyers.

There is real potential in the stories of our community and we need to grab it A resident on the board

B. Advocating for residents

We’ve consulted and researched widely across our community to make this plan, using workshops, interviews and surveys as well as formal decision meetings.

We have listened to your needs and recognise your priorities. For example, many people said you need a local pharmacy.

As a Partnership, we will work with you achieve these aspirations, to campaign with you to make a lasting difference. We need to organise our neighbourhood, form partnerships, campaign and lobby for issues residents care about.

If it matters to one person in Mottingham, it matters to us.

This is how we will get results together.

Community activities like these can really change your outlook on life A resident

C. A wider perspective

We want to involve a bigger share of Mottingham residents in our work. At the moment, people get involved by either joining the Partnership Board or taking part in an event or activity.

We want to experiment with more and different ways for people to get involved, no matter their skills, experience or confidence. We want to capitalise on their skills and interests.

That might look like helping to run a particular project or event, or joining smaller decision-making groups that aren’t part of the main Board but still do important work.

We particularly want to appeal to people to whom “joining the board” can feel off-putting, scary or just not a good use of time.

We also want to more accurately reflect the diversity of Mottingham itself by appealing to people who are under-represented on the board, especially young people and ethnic minorities.

We want to grow an inclusive partnership. We have made a start, but there’s lots still to be done.

With the right inpout and strategy, we can develop as an area and really grow our aspirations A resident on the board

D. Investing in Mottingham long term

Mottingham gets £24,000 of funding per resident, compared to £122,000 for London as a whole.

As well as lobbying and campaigning on behalf of Mottingham, we also want to raise money for it.

We’re going to explore alternative avenues of funding and the staffing to access sustainable sources of money that will allow our work to continue long after Big Local.

We’re also going to apply this same approach to our new Community Chest scheme: we’ll help the ideas we fund become self-sufficient.

3. Action plan

We’re investing in sustainability and growing the pie

We are growing our skills

Making this plan happen will take take, effort, and most of all the right skills and experience. Some of those skills will come from our existing staff, and we’ll rely on partners to fill the gaps. In particular:

We are working in partnership

Nothing we want to do can be done alone.

We’re going to turn Mottingham into the biggest of big tents: seeking out allies both within and beyond the neighbourhood.

We’re going to think less about catchment areas and more about broad alliances.

Working in coordination with other organisations takes effort, but it’s worth it in the long run.

We are starting a community chest scheme

Like before, residents will be able to apply for funding to run their own projects, events and activities.

This will be strategic seed funding—we’ll fund ideas that have serious potential to affect one or more of our priority community needs.

Ideas that need help getting off the ground, but which have the potential to eventually self-fund, will also score higher.

We’re simplifying the application process to remove barriers for applicants.

We’ll will discuss your ideas with you and help applicants make your ideas a reality.

We are budgeting flexibly

We only get one chance to use this money, so we’re going to review this budget every year, not every three years, and change things that aren’t working.

We are working in the open

The more transparent we are, the more residents trust us.

We’re going to be openly publishing more of our work than before: talking frankly about what’s working as well as what isn’t.

You can expect blog posts, newsletters and far more ways to get involved in the work than before.

We will measure our success against priority community needs

We started this plan by listing these residents’ priorities.

We will deliver services to meet these priorities and measure our impact over the coming years using a mix of methods, including interviews and surveys.

4. Legacy statement

We are starting a successor organisation

If we’re going to do everything else mentioned in this plan, then we’ll need an organisation with proper legal standing to do it.

Whether this is an entirely new organisation, or a reformation of an existing one isn’t clear to us yet, but we’re certainly going to find out.

Whatever the case, it will have a democratic constitution that guarantees a voice for everyone in Mottingham.

A place to call home

We will help to create an inclusive community, where residents have well-developed skills as well as the confidence and opportunity to use them.

We will invest in future generations with sustainable activities and projects.

Our funding will create networks of organisations and encourage them to work in collaboration for the benefit of residents, businesses and the wider community.


This work would not have been possible without a wide range of residents and professionals being generous with their time, expertise, and feedback.

The Mottingham Big Local Refocused partnership board is Steven Madder, Jenny Millen, Claudine Williams, Ian Williams, Doreen Thompson, Joel Willis, Marion Lakah, Sue Turner and Robert Brooks.

Supported by John Westby, Karyn Jones, Christopher Evans, Gavin Maynard and Carl Adams.

Our Local Trust representative is Ezra Gill.

Research led by Ashley O’Callaghan, with Sarah Tayleur, Nandita Rath and Jaye Hackett.

Graphic design by Amy Rogers.