Co-operatives UK and partner organisations launch community activist platform

Co-operatives UK is one of the organisations backing the project

A new online platform launched this week aims to unleash community activism across the UK.

Launched by 12 community sector infrastructure organisations, including Co-operatives UK, the My Community network will enable people to address issues affecting their communities. It provides a go-to space of trusted resources to help people find the information they need about the support options available. It also encourages groups to come together and take positive community action.

The platform is the project of Power to Change, Locality, Acre, Groundwork, Local Trust, Plunkett Foundation, Co-operatives UK, MHCLG, NAVCA, New Economics Foundation, NCVO and Semble.

John Atherton, head of membership at Co-operatives UK, said: “The current crisis has prompted a new wave of community support, which we hope will turn into longer term co-operation.

“For those people who want to take action, it can be hard to know where to start. Working with other organisations who champion and support communities, we’ve pooled our resources into one place so that people don’t have to spend hours searching for it. We want to make it easier for local people to find the support they need and act on the issues they care about.”

The 12 organisations hope the new tool will help people to unleash the community spirit seen across the country as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Recent research by Power to Change revealed that 68% of UK adults do not want to lose the renewed sense of community spirit and are pledging to do more in their local area when the crisis finally ends. Furthermore, a quarter of those surveyed (26%) fear that vulnerable people in their community do not know where to go for support, while 18% believe there is a lack of community resources in their area.

Through My Community, users will be able to find all the latest tools, tips and ideas needed to achieve local aims, and help to make all communities a better place to live and thrive.

One of the organisations witnessing a surge in community spirit is BS3 Community Development, a Bristol charity working to improve the lives of people living in BS3 and the surrounding area.

Its head of communications Dawn Lockhart said: “At this time of huge uncertainty it’s been truly humbling to see people in the community coming together to protect the most vulnerable. Quite often people want to make a difference locally but don’t know where to start.

“My Community provides that starting point and enables local people to act for themselves on the issues they care about. The My Community platform is great because it can help harness this huge surge in amazing activism and community support.”

Those signing up to the platform will also receive tailored e-mail updates for new content based on their chosen areas of interest.

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