The community organisation membership body Locality has called on the government to support a community-powered economic recovery post-pandemic, including establishing a £1bn investment plan for community assets.
The call comes as part of a report, We Are Built For This, in which Locality highlights the role that community organisations have played in meeting community needs during the coronavirus crisis.
The report, which was contributed to by more than 100 organisations, argues that community organisations have been the “glue” linking mutual-aid groups with private and public sector responses and must now be trusted to lead economic recovery.
In areas where the public, community and private sectors already have strong, collaborative relationships, support was made available faster and has been more effective, the report says.
The report recommends that the government expands the Community Ownership Fund to capitalise community organisations by leveraging dormant assets and other funding to establish a £1bn investment plan for community assets over the next five years.
It also calls for the government to provide £500m of revenue funding to grow existing community organisations, to put communities in charge of local economic development by ring-fencing 25 per cent of economic development funding for community-led partnerships and to permanently embed the procurement flexibility introduced during the crisis.
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”, the report says.
Locality is urging its members to use its email template to contact local MPs and “ensure government hears our calls for a community-powered recovery loud and clear”.
Tony Armstrong, chief executive of Locality, said: “We cannot overstate the role community organisations have played in providing and mobilising support during the coronavirus crisis. “The challenge we face now is ensuring that these groups are given the voice, power and resources they need to support their communities through the recovery from the pandemic.
“Our recommendations for devolution of power and resources to communities 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 help us bounce back stronger from this crisis.”