Public back community action to save local spaces

Three-quarters of people want to see neglected local places and services taken over by the community, according to a new survey.

The survey by Power to Change to mark the first day of Community Business Weekend, which runs until 7 May, shows 77% of people want to see the public take on the running of neglected pubs, shops and farms and almost half (49%) are prepared to take action themselves to make this happen.

The survey also reveals 60% believe their library is at risk of closure, half feel locally-run shops may close and a third (34%) have seen a nearby pub at risk from closing down.

In addition, 52% said they are ready to set up a community business to take power into their own hands.

Community Business Weekend, where hundreds of community businesses will be opening their doors to residents, starts today (4 May) and runs for the rest of the weekend.

According to Power to Change, there are around 7,000 community businesses in England with a combined market income of £1.2bn.

Almost a third (29%) are born of frustration at a lack of local level action by government, but the majority are set up with more positive motives.

And almost three quarters (72%) of community businesses are set up to help bring the community together and 60% are established to meet the specific needs of the local community.

‘Community businesses are a great example of local people taking power into their own hands,’ said Power to Change’s interim chief executive, Peter Jenkins.

‘Every day tens of thousands of people get up and go to work at one of the thousands of community businesses in England.  Hundreds of thousands of us shop, visit or benefit from them directly but they are still relatively unknown.

‘That’s why Community Business Weekend is so important. It shines a light on these community-run gems that protect not only much needed services and spaces to communities but boost local economies and reinvest the profits for the benefit of local people,” added Mr Jenkins.

For more information on Community Business Weekend, visit the website here.

Jamie Hailstone
Senior reporter - NewStart


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