First Steps gives small community groups the freedom to develop action plans to improve their neighbourhood.

First Steps areas will receive support to decide upon practical actions to make positive changes in their community.

The programme offers 115 communities the opportunity to work together to decide what they do and don’t like and what can be changed.


Following the introduction of the Localism Act 2011, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) developed a number of programmes to support people to use these new rights. One of these was the Our Place programme, delivered in 2014/15 by Locality and its partners, which enabled organisations to come together with local authorities to involve local people and help identify the issues that matter most to them. These ‘Our Place areas’ then developed a cooperative plan to tackle these issues and reshape local services to better meet the needs of communities.

First Steps has been designed to build on this enthusiasm and appetite for local service transformation and provide the opportunity for an expansion of Our Place areas for 2015/16. It is aimed at communities that are just starting along the path of community action and need a different kind of  support.

The First Steps programme

A package of support and Grants will be open for applications for interested areas from 1 April 2015. The Grants and support are designed to support at least 115 neighbourhoods and helping them to develop Community Action Plans to address local issues by March 2016.

Key achievements

Community Action Plan

By March 2016 each area will be expected to have completed a Community Action plan.

The plan will look at how the community was brought together to think about their area or issue, what issues were identified and which goals the community would like to achieve. It will contain actions detailing what will happen in the short, medium and long term. It should suggest ideas for when these actions need to happen and indicate who will help bring them about. And it will also consider other people who need to be involved in order to make the actions work.

  • First Steps areas will need to have written the first draft of their action plan by 23rd November 2015 so that it can be peer reviewed by other First Step areas.
  • First Steps areas will need to submit their final community action plan to CDF by 29th February 2016 for review and final comment.

Building blocks for success

The key ingredients that are essential for this way of working to happen quickly and successfully are:

  • community involvement in raising local issues and addressing solutions to them
  • constructively identifying local partners with whom you can collaborate to help put together your plan to address specific local issues.

About the programme

CDF in partnership with Locality and delivery associates are running the First Steps programme.