Have you ever been asked to get involved with a project where a community wants to do something with land or buildings? Then you’ll know how frustrating it can sometimes be. Cany Ash of Ash Sakula Architects knows the well worn path.
It may surprise you to know that community groups recognise how difficult it is for professionals to get involved at an early stage in a project, when the risks of abortive work are so great and we’re promised something that may or may not be delivered.
Up until now, community groups have often had to go it alone where working with property professionals is concerned, but this could be about to change with the onset of a pilot scheme developed by Locality.
What’s different now?
Public bodies the length and breadth of the country are disposing of large sections of their estate – amongst them, a significant number of diverse assets deemed of value to communities. At the same time, Government has introduced new community rights to bid, build and reclaim land to encourage citizen-led development.
Communities now need three things – a development-ready group, the right professional advice and, of course, sufficient and appropriate funds!
One organisation helping communities to translate local ambition into tangible outcomes is Locality. Formerly the Development Trust Association, Locality is the UK’s leading network of community enterprise practitioners. Its 750+ members own combined assets worth £800m and are dedicated to improving neighbourhoods through sustainable asset development and social enterprise – which, in the majority of cases, means buildings. Locality members believe in truly sustainable development – using self-help, trading for social purpose, and ownership of buildings and land, to bring about long-term social, economic and environmental benefits in their community.
More and more community assets are being made available by public land owners. The practice of discounted asset transfer to communities is now well-established. A growing number of community organisations are able to access support through organisations like Locality. And, funding and investment opportunities for communities are set to grow with dedicated funds from, for example, Big Society Capital.
Find out more on 21st June
If you think that your practice would like to be involved in these projects, you should come along to the launch of the new Locality ‘dating’ service for professionals and community groups – Locality Brokers in London on 21 June from 6pm at The Building Centre, Store Street, London WC1E 7BT
I’ll be there live blogging the event, but if you want to meet the brokers and find out more about the projects, it is definitely worth coming along in person.
Confirm your place by emailing email@example.com for a formal invitation.
Postscript: if you’re a construction professional who has worked on not-for-private profit asset initiatives, why not get in touch to share your views and experience? Guest blog posts are encouraged to build up knowledge. Just email Locality Brokers at the address above.
Want to see an example of what Locality do? Here’s a video of a project in Keighley: