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Community assets

Giving communities more control

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To support communities, we have helped grow their ownership of assets. Through this, communities have taken charge of land, buildings, equipment and energy in their vicinity. Programmes supporting communities in this way are:

What works

Our learning from funding community asset work has highlighted some aspects of project planning for groups to think about when embarking on a community asset focused project:

  • Community engagement
    It is important that members of the local community are actively involved in the project beyond basic consultation. Participants of the project should be visible in the community and engage effectively with local people. Maintaining interest and support within the local community has been identified as a challenge by numerous groups.
  • Skills and commitment
    Community asset projects require time, effort and expertise. These projects can help individuals to gain new skills and capabilities and often represent a steep learning curve for community groups.
  • Needs based
    There should be a clear understanding of community needs to ensure the asset being developed will benefit and be used by the community. In the long run this can also aid the sustainability of the project.
  • Dedicated staff resource
    Groups involved in these projects have identified that projects are able to progress more quickly with a paid staff resource than if completely reliant on volunteers.
  • National and local context
    It’s important that projects understand and work with their local authorities to understand the local policies surrounding public assets. Local authorities may have different attitudes towards transferring ownership of assets or different willingness to provide financial support for the project. Countries in the UK also have separate policies on asset transfer.
    Growing Community Assets in Scotland showed differences in enthusiasm for projects across different areas e.g. willingness to take up volunteering and decision-making positions in projects was greater in remote rural areas compared to urban areas.
  • Working in partnership
    Community Assets in England showed that working with local authorities can help community organisations in progressing asset transfer projects through financial and practical support. Project teams found that the relationship between the organisations needs to maintain clear responsibilities in decision making and good communication.

Further information and advice on community asset projects for communities and groups and for policy makers and funders can be found on the sub-pages below.

See all research publications on community assets on the communities and places publication page.