Published: 12th Apr 2016

homebaked1Liverpool’s history is full of ‘firsts’ when it comes to ideas for creating social and economic change, and building community is in the city’s DNA. Here’s ten of its best organisations that are doing things differently:

1. Alt Valley Community Trust: Education at the heart of community: Alt Valley Community Trust has been an anchor organisation in north Liverpool for over 20 years. A social enterprise, its key themes are education and lifelong learning. It runs North Liverpool Community College, a range of apprenticeships, a creative campus with courses in drama, writing, art and music, and is home to Croxteth Communiversity, which includes a community library and adult education classes.

2. Homebaked: Rebuilding community, one loaf at time: A stone’s throw from Liverpool Football Club, Homebaked is a community bakery and community land trust which has played a key role in rebuilding a high street in one of the city’s most deprived areas. It began as an art project as part of the Liverpool Biennial. Local residents, football fans and other supporters got involved in taking on Mitchell’s Bakery, one of the last remaining places to buy fresh food in the area. A crowdfunding campaign helped raise money for new ovens and the bakery is now part of a larger plan for the revival of the high street and adjoining flats and land.

3. The Eldonian Village: Pioneering community development: Described by the Prince of Wales as one of the UK’s leading examples of a successful community-led, approach to neighbourhood regeneration, the Eldonian Community Based Housing Association was set up as a housing cooperative in 1983 by tenants whose homes were scheduled for demolition. Wanting to prevent the dispersal of their community they went on to redevelop the former Tate and Lyle sugar refinery into a social housing development which would meet all the needs of its residents, with over 400 homes, a sports centre, nursing home, nursery and village hall. The scheme attracted public and private funding but local people have retained control of its decision-making and the scheme has been praised throughout the world, winning the World Habitat Award in 2004.

bluegreen liverpool4. Blue-Green Liverpool: Greening the city centre: A recent report found that Liverpool is one of the least green cities in England. The My City Allotments project is aimed at getting more green into Liverpool city centre. It won £8000 funding from Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme, which creates grants from 5p plastic bag charge, and is using the money to plant edibles in the city centre, create fruit trees on walking routes to schools, set up horticultural therapy spaces for city centre organisations such as the Brink, Liverpool’s first dry bar and restaurant, and support food-based social enterprises.

5. The Women’s Organisation: Supporting women’s enterprise: The largest deliverer of training for women in the UK, the Women’s Organisation helps to empower women, both in the workplace and in their local communities. It runs programmes to help women set up their own businesses and partners with local, national and European organisations to promote women’s entrepreneurship.