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Do you chat to your neighbours online? What about in 15 years' time?

Local Trust is looking for creative futures researchers

January 2017

By Alice Casey, Local Trust trustee

Just before Christmas we had some work done on the kitchen, and found damp plaster and lead piping which needed to be removed. Having a young baby in the house and with winter setting in, we weren't best pleased to have to have the heating and hot water turned off for chunks of time at late notice over the holidays. I sent an email out and within a couple of hours had offers of three fan heaters and a spare kettle to borrow plus invitations to get out of the cold and use neighbours' hot water.

Just five years ago I wouldn't really have imagined I would be chatting to groups of my neighbours about things that really matter to my everyday life. Now, I do this regularly. Whether it is finding emergency childcare, improving the local park, finding the best doctor to go to or many other local tips and issues, my first port of call is no longer a local newspaper; it is the email group on our street, the second place I turn is to a what's app group of neighbours with kids of a similar age, and the third is a local news website and Twitter/Facebook feed run by volunteers.

This is just one example of how community life has been evolving over the past 5 years for one group of people; what change can you imagine in your communities over the next 10 or 15 years?

The Community Development Foundation worked with communities for fifty years, closing its doors in 2016. As part of its closure, Local Trust has taken on legacy funding from CDF that will spark new thinking about the issues that matter to community development over the next 10 to 15 years, imagining impact of some of the bigger trends, as well as the community led changes in behaviour and interaction.

Whether it is the resounding impact of Brexit, the apparent upward trend in community well-being or apparent decline in trust of ‘experts’; Local Trust is interested in hearing from creative researchers with ideas to help understand and imagine community change in the future.

Thanks to additional support from JRF, we are able to look particularly into how those living in poverty may be empowered or affected. This research is an exciting opportunity to think and inspire others to think about how we can shape our communities into the places we most want them to be, for everyone to enjoy; a subject very close to the heart of Local Trust and all the 150 community partnerships we work with.

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