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Locality was formed on 1 April 2011 by the merger of bassac and the DTA, both organisations with a rich history.

Find out more about our movement in the history of our movement.

bassac and the Settlement Movement

Samuel and Henrietta Barnett founders of Toynbee Hall Samuel and Henrietta Barnett, pioneers of the Settlement Movement

The Settlement Movement began in the 1880s as a response to the urban poverty and social problems caused by industrialisation. This movement created “settlement houses” which offered social services to the urban poor and campaigned for social justice and equality.

Many elements of the welfare state have their origins in the work of the Settlement Movement.

bassac began life as the Federation of Residential Settlements in 1920.

Children at Mary Ward SettlementChildren at the Mary Ward Settlement, London

Community assets, social enterprise and the DTA

The Development Trusts Association was founded in 1993 to help groups set up community  enterprises and to promote community ownership of land and buildings.

Asset ownership has a long history. For generations people have called for land and buildings to belong neither to private landowners nor the state, but instead to be controlled by local communities for the common good.

Community enterprises are community owned and led organisations that are trading for social purpose and for the benfit of their community.  They use robust business models based on triple bottom line approaches that considers impacts on people, planet and profit.  From medieval guilds to the Co-operative Movement and beyond, social enterprise has been a force for change.


bassac and the DTA were both leaders in their respective fields, shared a commitment to supporting community-led organisations and had expertise in enterprise, collaboration, community asset ownership and community development. The DTA and bassac even shared an office, now Locality’s headquarters.

Merger seemed the natural next step. DTA and bassac members voted in favour of a merger in November 2010.