Over the last couple of years there has been lots of talk about Communities “doing it for themselves” The government’s Big Society agenda and the Localism Bill have sought to tap into a feeling by many people in both rural and urban communities that if they want to see their communities thrive in the ways they want them to they cannot rely on others to do it for them.
Of course many communities and community based organisations have been acting out the “Big Society” for years so it could be said what’s new!
The economic climate and the cuts in public sector funding are things we have not seen the like of in many decades so communities are now finding different ways of getting things done and one of the approaches which is growing in prominence are Community Land Trusts (CLTs).
Here in the East of England there is a growing interest in CLTs as a way, not only of providing a range of community facilities or services but bringing communities together with a shared sense of purpose and belonging.
CLTs, made up of local people, will own and have control of the facilities they create be that housing, a village shop, a village hall or other facility .
Many of the CLTs which are springing up around the country do have a major focus on affordable housing which can be held by the community and therefore kept for local people and kept affordable but it’s not just about housing and projects which can provide a range of community facilities can engage a wider range of local people by focusing on more than just a single element of what a community needs to help it thrive.
Creating and then running a CLT is not for the faint hearted nor is it a quick fix and communities whilst being enthusiastic about the idea may feel they do not have the skills, the time or the access to the range of organisations they would need to work with to plan for create and then run a CLT. That’s where Foundation East can step in to help with professional support helping communities to:
• think what they want
• providing advice on how to set up a CLT
• provide technical knowledge and skills to help fledgling CLTs and
• access the CLT fund which provides some funding towards setting up a CLT and its projects
Community Land Trusts can and do work in both rural and urban communities and the great thing is that they don’t just provide physical assets but bring people together with a common interest and purpose and act as Community Glue.
Steven Cook Director