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17/02/2015

£6m to increase communities’ control

Words: Laura Edgar
Community / Shutterstock: 144653342

Stephen Williams, communities minister, has announced that the Community Rights programme will receive a £6 million funding boost.

The funding, the government said, should give communities greater control and influence over what happens in their area.

It explained that the new funding will mean that communities looking to use the community rights available will receive more tailored advice; 100 new communities will receive support in taking the first steps in identifying important local issues and develop Community Action Plans and a new programme will support more and faster transfers of community assets from councils into community ownership.

It “complements the £32 million funding for Neighbourhood Planning and the Community Right to Build giving communities more of a say in where new homes, shops and offices should be built and what they should like, added the government.

Alongside this, Williams also announced that six contracts have been awarded to Locality, Co-operatives UK and The Community Development Foundation (CDF) to support communities using Community Rights in 2015 to 2016.

He said: “This government has trusted local people and given them new rights, introduced by the Localism Act, so they decide how to run their community.

“Real innovation and impact does not come from the old ways of working, but from new ideas, new collaborations, new partnerships and most of all from local people who have the best knowledge.

“The 3,000 uses of the rights so far is proof that communities are revolutionising the way their neighbourhoods work and this further commitment will ensure the Community Rights movement goes from strength to strength.”

The consortium led by Locality includes the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). President Janet Askew  explained: “The funding we receive will be used to add new free-to-use, web-based resources such as podcasts, guidance and information notes, in order to help more groups prepare and progress their neighbourhood plans,” he added.

From March, the focus of Community Rights will move towards shared support through a network, which  would allow communities to benefit from the success of others, said the government.

Ed Mayo, secretary-general of Co-operatives UK, said: “This is the first true community economic development programme for more than a decade. It is grassroots, bootstrap self-help that will enable people to take control, as a community, of their own economic prospects.

“Co-operatives UK is delighted to be working in partnership to help communities make a success of this.”

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