This report explores how community organisations have reacted and adapted to the challenges of the crisis.
When crisis struck, across the country community organisations were early responders, coordinating volunteers, delivering emergency supplies, supporting isolated groups, and finding creative ways to keep communities together.
Over 100 organisations contributed to the report, with input from community organisation chief executives and council leaders from across England. This includes seven in-depth case-studies with groups in Berwick, Bristol, Coventry, Grimsby, Hackney, Manchester and Thetford.
We were built for this: report findings
The report revealed that:
1. Community organisations have often been the quickest to mobilise and adapt their services to the crisis – but need support to meet the challenges of the future
2. Community organisations have been the glue that has held together the community response – coordinating and connecting grassroots groups with public and private sector responses.
3. In areas where the public, community and private sector already have strong, collaborative relationships, support was made available faster and has been more effective.
4. Community organisations have been able to harness the upsurge in community spirit – working with and coordinating grassroots groups and hyper-local support.
Taking on board the various changes and challenges that have emerged during the crisis, we give the following recommendations:
1. Support a community-powered economic recovery
• Expand the Community Ownership Fund to capitalise community organisations, by leveraging Dormant Assets and other funding to establish a £1bn investment plan for community assets
• Put communities in charge of local economic development by ringfencing 25% of economic development funding for community-led partnerships
2. Create collaborative public services that unlock community power
• Support “power partnerships” to develop at a local level through long-term investment in councils and communities
• Permanently embed procurement flexibility introduced during the crisis
• Shift from competitive tendering to community collaboration
3. Turn community spirit into community power
• Put neighbourhoods at the heart of the Devolution White Paper and strengthen community powers to lead change locally.
• Provide £500m revenue funding to protect, strengthen and grow existing community organisations and provide a pathway for new mutual aid groups to become established.
Write to your MP
Following the publication of ‘We were built for this’ – we want to ensure government hears our calls for a community-powered recovery loud and clear. We’ve prepared a short document for Locality members to help you get in touch with your MP. It includes an email template and tips for ensuring they hear our calls.