Community Land Trusts and The Big Society
We are at the time of year when children send off their letters to Santa Claus giving some pretty big hints about what gifts would make their Christmas. This year Foundation East has joined in the festive aspirations and has played a big part in helping the national Community Land Trust (CLT) Network in writing to its own Father Christmas, Housing Minister Grant Shapps. The aim is to try to obtain a modest financial commitment from government to pump prime important local CLT projects – a key part of its own localism agenda.
Foundation East’s recently launched CLT website www.clteast.org explains very clearly how local people should be at the forefront of highlighting the important needs of their communities and what they can do to help these projects to come to fruition – whether they involve affordable housing, affordable workspace, or running community shops, pubs or other services. And Phil Rose, our CLT Development Manager, is the ideal person to be able to provide help and guidance to set the local groups on the path to the successful delivery of these projects.
Over the last 15 months Phil acquired a huge amount of expertise in what is needed to set up and run a CLT to the extent that he has become the recognised East Anglian expert in CLTs. At Foundation East’s last Property Committee meeting Phil presented with a list of over 20 potential projects - mostly affordable housing – which could deliver over 200 homes in various local communities. This is an impressive achievement over such a short period of time.
So how can Santa Claus Shapps help Foundation East and the local communities we support in our time of need? Well it’s like this Mr Shapps – all our good work could come to nothing if we don’t get your financial support. And it’s not just in our region. Through the national CLT Network we know that there are other groups in a similar position to us elsewhere in the country who have a very short timescale before the funding of their CLT service will come to an end meaning that the valuable resource could be lost. And, Mr Shapps, the funding we need is very modest and is only short term – all of our activities will become sustainable after a short time when the projects start to get off the ground. And finally Mr Shapps it is your government’s localism agenda we are trying to support – we urge you to read our Christmas letter and support us to support you.
Steve Clarke, Director