On 1 July 2017, Locality officially took over the hosting of the International Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers (IFS)’s European office.

The IFS ‘believe in empowering the people who work for social justice by connecting, inspiring and supporting an inclusive global community.’ Locality are part of this international network of community organisations of over 10,000 members, all working to strengthen communities around the world.

It is a very exciting time to be hosting the IFS Europe office in London, connecting all European members, as Locality CEO Tony Armstrong comments:

“It can be depressing to watch the news today, and observe the rise of intolerance, ignorance and authoritarianism in many countries. International solidarity is something that is more important than ever, and our partner organisations who are supporting community anchor organisations around the world share the same problems as Locality members, as well as the determination and ambition to support communities to thrive.

The UK has chosen to leave the EU, but we believe this does not mean that we should become  insular as a result. We’re delighted to be making this commitment to supporting friendship, learning and solidarity with European organisations who are committed to putting communities first.

We can’t wait to really bring this to life at our Annual Convention this year, which will have international connections with speakers from IFS and across the world.”

History of IFS and Locality’s connection

The IFS represents the collection of settlement movements and community organisations across the world, and its history is one that spans hundreds of years into the past.

The Settlement Movement emerged in London in the 1880s as a response to the urban poverty and social problems caused by the advent of the Industrial revolution. The movement created ‘settlement houses’ which offered social services to the urban poor and campaigned for social justice and equality. The first settlement house, Toynbee Hall, was established in London, so that privileged students and disadvantaged local residents could live as neighbours and improve local conditions together – building a stronger sense of community. Toynbee Hall continues the work of campaigning for social justice today, and is one of the valued members of Locality. You can read Toynbee Hall’s blog on the history of the movement and why Locality hosting the new European is so important.

After World War I there was a burst of activity and countries began the foundation of new centres and associations. This is when the British Association of Settlements and Social Action Centres (bassac) was formed in the UK, which later merged with the Development Trusts Association (DTA) to form Locality in 2011. These national federations, which were set up across the world, led proposals to form an international association. By 1926 the IFS was fully formed, with bassac at the forefront.

Today, IFS members represent thousands of local community organisations across the world, all working to encourage the exchange of innovative ideas and best practices, and to influence social policies globally.

Hear from Mark Law MBE, the CEO of Barca-Leeds, about the invaluable opportunities the IFS has given him.

Find out more

Meet, hear from and learn from IFS members from across the world at Locality Convention ’17  on the 14 and 15 November in Manchester. Book your ticket here.