'The impetus and energy and passion for social justice that we saw in communities and that we shared in setting up New Start remains'
Julian, Author at NewStart
Big Local has shown the power of small actions and modest radicalism.
The ‘massive small’ needs to be part of a coherent story, venturing beyond the ‘big is bad’ anti-establishment rhetoric so skilfully played by the Brexit and Trump camps in 2016.
For decades retail has been seen as the driver of regeneration of our towns and cities. But in his new book, Julian Dobson finds little prosperity behind the glossy exteriors.
For 2015, here’s a five-point manifesto for politicians with imagination, with the promises I would like to see discussed before the vote and implemented after it.
What started with slightly anarchic plantings in public places is actually a model that can begin to reconnect communities and local economies. People are thinking differently about the town as a whole too, with an edible Green Route that connects the health centre, theatre, market, station and canal towpath, bringing a sense of unity to the town and creating important habitats for pollinating insects.
The philanthropists of the past invested in the shared assets and common wealth of a city. A Local Endowment Fund for people-centred approaches to regeneration could do the same in the 21st century, says Julian Dobson.
Resilience is too often framed in terms of the concerns of the government rather than people. The government's civil contingencies secretariat sits in a corner of the Cabinet Office. It may be a very special corner, but it's a corner nonetheless, and a corner of Whitehall, one of the most insular and disconnected communities in the UK.
Resilient communities have resilient, co-produced institutions at their heart, argues Julian Dobson.
From a people-centred perspective, the welfare debate is back to front: the goal must be to build capacity, not simply to reduce budgets. Welfare payments are just one part of a matrix of factors that support people’s livelihoods in poor communities.