Onward’s Social Fabric research has demonstrated the importance of community ownership and participation in place and civic pride. Many community assets, from village halls to pubs, and from youth clubs to sports grounds, play a crucial role in fostering trust and belonging, by providing a place for young people to interact. But their number has dwindled over recent decades and too little is being done to repurpose assets for community use. The work of Power to Change, as well as initiatives by Historic England, parish councils, neighbourhood planning forums and community improvement districts all demonstrate the power of communities taking back control.
The Government has taken a number of steps to restore social fabric through community use. In the recent Levelling Up White Paper, ministers announced plans to introduce a new Strategy for Community Spaces and Relationships, which will consider how the existing Community Asset Transfer and Asset of Community Value Schemes can be enhanced, as well as a further round of the Community Ownership Fund. But there is still more work to be done. How can we ensure that the proposed reforms to support community ownership actually have the desired effect? How can we build capacity in communities, including those that are furthest behind? Where will the capital, both financial and social, come from to make such initiatives a reality?
This panel event will consider how the Government can restore community spirit by supporting local people to take ownership of the places that matter to them. It will be a chance to consider the Government’s recent commitments in the Levelling Up White Paper, how to make these proposals work, and areas in which ministers could go further.
To view this event online, please click here