Co-operatives UK to help deliver £6m of Community Rights funding

Co-operatives UK will benefit from a new £6m funding allocation for the Community Rights programme in 2015 to 2016. The government has awarded six contracts to support communities...

Co-operatives UK will benefit from a new £6m funding allocation for the Community Rights programme in 2015 to 2016. The government has awarded six contracts to support communities using Community Rights to Locality, Co-operatives UK and the Community Development Foundation (CDF).

For 2015 to 2016, the total value of the six contracts is £15.2m, including previously announced funding for neighbourhood planning. Co-operatives UK will work with the New Economics Foundation, the CDF, the Community Development Finance Association and Locality on community economic development.

Ed Mayo, secretary general of Co-operatives UK said: “This is the first true community economic development programme for more than a decade. It’s grassroots, bootstrap self-help that will enable people take control, as a community, of their own economic prospects. Co-operatives UK is delighted to be working in partnership to help communities make a success of this.”

From March, the focus of Community Rights will shift towards shared support through ‘My Community Network’, allowing communities to benefit from others’ successes. There will be expert advice via a new website alongside phone support and programmes targeting gaps in provision.

Locality and the CDF will deliver the advice service and network, with support from the Local Government Association (LGA), National Association of Local Councils (NALC), National Association for Voluntary and Community Action and Anthony Collins Solicitors.

Locality will deliver community ownership and management of assets, with partners including the LGA, NALC, Community Matters, the Plunkett Foundation, Civic Voice, Ubele and Voice 4 Change. It will also be responsible for neighbourhood planning and community Right to Build, with support from planning consultancy URS-AECOM and sub-contractors including Design Council/CABE, Royal Town Planning Institute and Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

First steps and Our Place will be delivered by Locality with CDF, LGA and NALC. Delivery partners including Civic Voice, Ubele and Voice 4 Change will help take Our Place to harder to reach communities. Groundwork has been contracted to administer grants.

Communities Minister Stephen Williams said: “This government has trusted local people and given them new rights, introduced by the Localism Act, so they decide how to run their community. Real innovation and impact does not come from the old ways of working but from new ideas, new collaborations, new partnerships and most of all from local people who have the best knowledge.

“The 3,000 uses of the rights so far is proof that communities are revolutionising the way their neighbourhoods work and this further commitment will ensure the Community Rights movement goes from strength to strength.”

Tony Armstrong, chief executive of Locality, added: “We’ll be helping groups to take over local buildings and land such as pubs, sports centres and community facilities, to shape and deliver public services, and to develop neighbourhood plans. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to get started and in some of the most deprived communities.

“There’s so much inspiring work in communities, we see it every day through the activities of our members. We’ll create a widespread network for learning, with community champions inspiring others to take local action, improving people’s lives and creating thriving neighbourhoods.”

Targets under the new programme include support for one hundred neighbourhoods to use the Our Place approach, support for one hundred communities to begin identifying local issues and developing Community Action Plans, support for 50 communities to develop economic plans to address local economic priorities like job creation and enterprise and advice and support and grants for 50 local authority/community partnerships to support the transfer of multiple or complex publicly owned assets into community ownership.

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