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Empowered Communities

News about Empowered Communities

Find out what the research team are learning and read the latest opinion and announcements.

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14 February 2017

Opinion: Looking back to move forward

Leila Baker, head of research at IVAR argues that the Empowered Communities ‘Dialogues Series’ is a research approach for our times, and explores why it is so important that envisioning the future should not be done without reference to lessons of the past. Read the blog.

14 February 2017

Update: Introduction to the Dialogues Series

Leila Baker, head of research at IVAR, explains that the Empowered Communities in the 2020s research will be structured through a series of dialogues.

  • Dialogue: Issues  – Exploring issues that intersect with community development and empowered communities, such as income inequality, local ageing populations, housing, immigration or climate change.
  • Dialogue: Nations  – Visiting four nations in the UK to hear from people who work with communities regardless of whether or not they have a community development remit as such.
  • Dialogue: Places – Conversations in four communities of place, to hear from people who work with, or in some way support communities — regardless of whether or not they have a community development remit.

Read the research description. 

14 February 2017

Opinion: Filling the void

If the past of community and place-based funding can teach us anything, it is that we must create space to explore, share and understand new ideas and practice. Local Trust’s Empowered Communities project will do just that, says Matt Leach. Read the blog.

13 February 2017

Opinion: Why did the Big Society fail?

As our Empowered Communities project prepares to look at the future of support to communities, Matt Leach reflects on what we can learn by looking at the past. Read the blog.

3 January 2017

Opinion: Do you chat to your neighbours online? What about in 15 years’ time?

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, says 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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21 November 2016

Press release: New project launches to explore a radically different future for communities, as report suggests collaboration with residents is key

Local Trust today announces the names of steering group members who will direct a major new independent research project scoping the future of work with communities. The announcement comes as Local Trust also publishes a new report characterising the perceptions of 26 leaders in the community sector who gave confidential interviews to insight consultancy, BritainThinks. Read the press release.

7 September 2016

Update: Empowered Communities outline plans announced

We’re delighted to announce outline plans for a major new research project that will capture the contemporary value of community development and scope its future. View the announcement.

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