As 2019 winds to an end, now is the perfect time to reflect on this year’s achievements and learnings and to take a little look at what’s on the horizon.
We are proud to work with you, our members. Thank you for giving us hope in such tumultuous times. Together we will use the power of community to create a fairer society!

As a sector, we face huge challenges. Our members and partners are stretched beyond capacity – many have experienced escalating demands while remaining chronically under-resourced.

We’re under no illusion that things are going to become easier anytime soon. Moreover, with so much dust still to settle after the most divisive General Election of recent times, it’s hard to make solid predictions for 2020.

Despite all of this, we are optimistic. This optimism is not blind; it’s based on the incredible energy, ideas, adaptability and ingenuity of our 750 members.

It is based on the stories we hear every day of how lives have been turned around, of how community spaces have been saved, and of how local people from different backgrounds and with different life-experiences have come together to find common cause.

We are optimistic because we know from experience that the words of Jo Cox, (and the unwritten theme of Locality Convention 2019) still ring true:

“We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us”

two women talking and drinking tea

We’re proud to work with you, our members. Thank you for giving us hope in such tumultuous times. Together we will use the power of community to create a fairer society!

Through our expert support and advice services, peer-to-peer learning, influencing work and more, we work hard to provide local community groups the tools and environment they need to flourish.

Our Year in Review

Here’s an outline of some of our highlights of 2019 – please share your own on social media and remember to tag us!

Locality Convention ‘19

In November, over 500 delegates from local community organisations across the country congregated in Leeds for Locality Convention ’19. During the convention we were joined by Kim Leadbeater, Jo Cox’s sister and Ambassador for The Jo Cox Foundation, who reminded us that the best way to remember Jo and build upon her legacy is to stand up for the values she fought for.

Locality Awards ’19

Our second annual Locality Awards ceremony was a real feel-good moment of the year. This was a great opportunity to celebrate the achievements of some of the most inspiring people and organisations in the Locality network.

Knowledge and skills exchanges

Through our peer learning programme, Locality members are given the chance to share their experiences and learn from experts in our network. Throughout the year we brokered 52 knowledge and skills exchanges between members, including four international visits to New York.

Lifeboat

It’s not always easy to spot the warning signs before a crisis hits, and even harder to keep afloat if it does.  Since our Lifeboat programme was launched in 2016 over 40 Locality members have benefitted from intensive business support to help them address critical issues around financial viability.

Policy and influencing

Through our policy and influencing work, we aim to create a better operating environment for all community organisations.

  • Our Communities in Charge campaign was launched over the summer. We will use the recommendations to influence the shape of the UK shared prosperity fund which will replace EU regeneration funds post Brexit.
  • Over 100 council and community representatives took part in the Keep It Local conference and we continued to advocate for the Keep It Local principles, calling for councils to commission locally.
  • We tested recommendations and learning from the Localism commission through action research in four places, publishing our findings through the Power Partnerships report.

Endangered spaces

Through our partnership with Co-op, we have provided support and advice to nearly 500 individuals and groups wanting to save a local space.

Bright Ideas fund

In 2019 60 community groups received funding and support to grow their community businesses – from affordable self-build housing, to community owned newspapers and renewable energy programmes.

My Community

In October we released the My Community Beta site, with a view to releasing the final site in the new year. My Community, a collaboration between twelve leading community sector bodies including Locality, will provide community groups with tools, tips and ideas to make their community a better place to live.

Neighbourhood planning

Neighbourhood plans give local people powers to shape how their communities develop. In 2019 over 500 local groups benefitted from grants worth a total of £2.7 million to help create neighbourhood plans. Locality provides support to neighbourhood planning groups on behalf of the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Community led housing

We awarded 64 grants to enable community-led housing organisations to develop their housing proposals.

Bring on the roaring ’20’s!

2020 is set to be an exciting year for Locality. As well as continuing to provide all of our key services and support, we have many new projects on the hob – each designed to help community groups better support local people.

A huge thanks is owed to all of our members, funders, sponsors and supporters for enabling us to deliver these projects.

Here are just a few things to look out for in 2020:
  • The biggest community sector event of the year, Locality Convention ’20, will be held in Birmingham. This will be a chance to share ideas and learn from community sector experts and members from across the country. We will also use this opportunity to celebrate members through our Locality Awards!
  • In early 2020 we will be revamping our membership model, enabling even more community groups to access our resources and support, and become part of our growing community.
  • Our proposal of a Community Ownership Fund was taken up by the new government in their election manifesto. We will work with the government to ensure this is implemented in the best interests of our members and local communities.
  • Locality turns 100! 2020 marks 100 years since the formation of The British Association of Settlements and Social Action Centres (BASSAC) – one of our two founding organisations.

So, a new year, a new decade and a new century awaits. Together we can build a fair society where every community thrives!

Tony Armstrong
Chief Executive, Locality