The partnership, named the Community Alliance Regional Programme, plans to develop ‘community anchor organisations’ across the country to expand the range of support services available to community groups and give them the skills to make a greater contribution to regional infrastructure planning and investment and policy work.
The programme has been awarded a £3.1m grant by the Big Lottery Fund to deliver the plan over five years. Bec Clarkson has been named as its director.
Steve Wyler, director of the Development Trusts Association, said: “This is an attempt by national community sector support organisations to work together so that we can achieve more than if we work separately. Member organisations can come to us and get access to what they need to develop themselves.”
The new community anchor organisations will provide multi-purpose centres that work in deprived areas, build social capital and deliver services.
Wyler said: “Our long-term vision is to have an effective community anchor organisation in every neighbourhood. We’re not saying that we will definitely achieve that in five years, because there are factors, like local government funding policies, beyond our control. But it is an incredibly positive step towards realising that vision.”
Clarkson said: “Anchor organisations offer facilities for the delivery of services, such as childcare and training; a meeting space for groups who want to make a difference locally; and a tried and tested way of promoting community involvement and cohesion.”