Published: 26th Sep 2016

6. Assets that are owned by and work for the community:

A stigmatised estate in Wolverhampton, its youth centre, shops and facilities closed down, is now home to Black Country Make, a group of young people who are creating digital manufacturing businesses from within those vacant properties. Portland Works, the place where Sheffield’s famous stainless steel was first forged, and which was due to be turned into student flats, has been preserved by a community buy-out as a hub of local manufacturing, old and new. A community-owned bakery – Homebaked – has kickstarted the development of a deprived area of Liverpool. A social enterprise is stopping carpet tiles going to landfill while providing much-needed jobs and training in the south Wales valleys. Sum Studios is run by Heeley Development Trust in Sheffield and is a business and arts space run from a former school building. A café and cultural venue in Glasgow spends its profits on music lessons for young people. Across the UK, asset-based social and community enterprises are proving models of place-based jobs and prosperity, and aligning social and economic aims and needs. Asset-based development is owned by and embedded in local areas and has already proven its worth. The Ouseburn Trust in Newcastle, for example, has turned a derelict area of the city into the biggest creative cluster in the North-East, in partnership with the local council. Community land trusts such as Granby 4 Streets and Homebaked in Liverpool are using assets to build affordable community housing and new local enterprise. The Community Economic Development programme funded by DCLG run by Co-operatives UK and NEF and others is supporting a number of local organisations taking a community-led approach to reshaping their local economies. In many cases, however, asset-based projects reach fruition only after a long fight from communities. But such approaches, which make use of local assets and human resources, offer solutions to local issues, and ultimately reduce local public sector costs.

Who’s doing it:

Black Country Make | Portland Works | Welsh Cooperative Centre | Glad Café | CED programme | Ousebourn Trust | Granby 4 Streets | Sum Studios | Homebaked

What it needs:

Places need to take greater advantage of the principles and provisions of the localism act 2011 and particularly those around community rights. This however needs to be done on a partnership basis, linking community provision to wider agendas around public service reform, with an enabling role for local councils. Community-led enterprise such as those described above needs support through the Growth Hubs and particularly their business support functions to enable them to continue to develop and provide benefits for communities.

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