Press release

Co-operatives UK secures portion of £6 million new funding to give communities greater local control

Communities Minister Stephen Williams today (17 February 2015) announced a new £6 million funding boost to the Community Rights programme - with Co-operatives UK playing a major role.
Up and down the country communities are taking action, from regulars running their local pub and protecting other treasured assets to ambitious plans for new development, new jobs and better targeted services. And the funding boost will give even more people greater local control and influence.
The new funding will mean:
  • Likeminded communities will be able to network and learn from each other through the new My Community Network
  • Communities will have access to tailored advice through a phone and online advice service to help them use the range of community rights and other neighbourhood approaches
  • 100 more neighbourhoods will be supported to use the Our Place approach, enabling councils and other public sector providers, voluntary and community groups, local businesses and the community to work together to tackle important local issues from job creation to health priorities
  • 100 communities will receive support to take the first steps in identifying important local issues and develop Community Action Plans
  • 50 communities will receive support to develop economic plans to address local economic priorities like job creation and enterprise
  • 50 local authority/community partnerships will receive advice, support and grants to support the transfer of multiple or complex publicly owned assets into community ownership
  • Stephen Williams also announced today the awarding of six new contracts to support communities in using the Community Rights in 2015 to 2016.
The six new contracts have been awarded to Locality, Co-operatives UK and The Community Development Foundation (CDF) and are:
  • Advice service and network - Locality and the Community Development Foundation with the Local Government Association, National Association of Local Councils, National Association for Voluntary and Community Action and Anthony Collins Solicitors
  • Community economic development – Co-operatives UK with New Economics Foundation, Community Development Foundation, The Community Development Finance Association and Locality
  • Community ownership and management of assets – Locality with a wide range of delivery partners including The Local Government Association, National Association of Local Councils, Community Matters, Plunkett Foundation, Civic Voice, Ubele and Voice 4 Change
  • Grant administration – Groundwork
  • Neighbourhood planning and community Right to Build – Locality with URS-AECOM, a leading planning consultancy, and a number of other specialist sub-contractors including Design Council/CABE, the Royal Town Planning Institute and Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors
  • First steps and our place - Locality with a wide range of delivery partners including The Community Development Foundation, The Local Government Association and The National Association of Local Councils
  • The delivery partners also include Civic Voice, Ubele and Voice 4 Change and will help the Our Place programme reach into harder to reach communities.
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."
From March, Community Rights support will be provided differently with the focus moving towards shared support through a network allowing communities to benefit from the successes of others. This will be matched by expert advice via a new website alongside a phone support service and specific programmes targeting any ‘gaps’ in provision.
The new monies announced today complement the £22.5 million funding for Neighbourhood Planning and £3.5 million for the Community Right to Build giving communities more of a say in where new homes, shops and offices should be built and what they should look like.
The total contract value to 2018 is £32 million. For 2015 to 2016, the total value of the 6 contracts is £15.2 million. This includes today’s new allocation of £6 million and the previously announced £22.5 million of funding for Neighbourhood Planning.
Tony Armstrong, Chief Executive Officer of Locality, said: "Locality and partners are very proud to be running the new Community Rights programmes. The support and funding available to communities gives us the opportunity to reach many more people and build on the successes of past programmes.
"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 is so much inspiring work in communities, we see it every day through the activities of our members. We will create a widespread network for learning, with community champions inspiring others to take local action - improving people’s lives and creating thriving neighbourhoods.
Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, said: "This is the first true community economic development programme for more than a decade. It is 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."
Alison Seabrooke, Chief Executive of the Community Development Foundation, said: "I am delighted that CDF will have the opportunity to build upon its relationships with diverse communities across the country and extend the opportunities on offer to them through this programme. CDF is looking forward to reaching out to even more community groups which can benefit from a range of CDF resources, including our Just Act website."