New research indicates community organisations should lead the post-pandemic recovery

Image Credit: 
Tony Alter via Flickr
17 June, 2020

New research on the role that the VCSE sector played during the coronavirus suggests that community organisations should be trusted to lead the post-pandemic recovery.

Published by Locality, “We Were Built For This” explores how community organisations reacted and adapted to the challenges of the crisis.

More than 100 organisations contributed to the report, which includes case studies from seven organisations across England – one of which is Knowle West Alliance in Bristol.

The report’s findings include:

  • Community organisations have often been the quickest to mobilise and adapt their services to the crisis – but need support to meet the challenges of the future
  • Community organisations have been the glue that has held together the community response – coordinating and connecting grassroots groups with public and private sector responses.
  • In areas where the public, community and private sector already have strong, collaborative relationships, support was made available faster and has been more effective.
  • Community organisations have been able to harness the upsurge in community spirit – working with and coordinating grassroots groups and hyper-local support.

As a result of the findings, Locality and its partners are calling on the government to:

Support a community-powered economic recovery

  • Use dormant assets to establish a £1bn investment plan for community assets
  • Ringfence 25% of economic development funding for community-led partnerships

Create collaborative public services that unlock community power

  • Support “power partnerships”  to develop at a local level through longterm investments in councils and communities
  • Permanently embed procurement flexibility that has been introduced during the pandemic
  • Shift from competition tendering to community collaboration

Turn community spirit into community power

  • Put neighbourhoods at the heart of the Devolution White Paper
  • Provide £500 million revenue funding to support existing community organisations and establish new mutual aid groups

Locality is encouraging all those who agree with the findings to get in touch with their MP using its pre-prepared email template.

 “Our recommendations show how the promised Community Ownership Fund and future economic development funding can be used to drive forward a community powered economic recovery which achieves renewal and growth while tackling entrenched inequality,” said Tony Armstrong, Chief Executive of Locality.

“Taken together these recommendations are radical, but common sense. They would deliver much of the Prime Minister’s ambition to level up the country, build self-reliant and resilient communities and bounce back stronger from the crisis.”