In March 2015 Wessex Community Assets began a two year action research project, funded by the Friends Provident Foundation, into how Community Land Trusts and other community led asset owning organisations make rural communities more sustainable.
The final report from the project, plus another report outlining specific policy recommendations can be found on our Publications page.
Make a difference
The project is exploring the nature of community resilience, how community based asset owning organisations can make a difference to community resilience – whether they do make a difference in fact, and also how we can tell that a difference has been made.
We are also looking at what kind of support community organisations need to move on to the next step of their life.
Through our work with Community Land Trusts and Community Benefit Societies we have seen that an organisation set up to do one thing (e.g. housing, or retail) becomes stronger once it has completed its first project. Once it has completed its first project it usually has a wide membership of local people, a board made up of local people who are used to making decisions together, track record of raising finance and working with partners, a legal structure in place that can take on different assets, and crucially, the confidence to do more to help to make the community they are set up to benefit even stronger.
We want to investigate what groups do at this point, how they go on to take on new assets or deliver new projects, what the challenges and opportunities are for them, and how they can be supported in their next stage of life.
As part of this project we are working with four pilot projects. All of these organisations have achieved a significant first project (and second too in some cases) and are established community based organisations.
The Red Brick Building
The Red Brick Building is a is a community-owned art, education and enterprise project. The building hosts a café, workspace, events space and is a hub for the local area of Street and Glastonbury.
Norton sub Hamdon Community Land Trust
Norton sub Hamdon Community Land Trust has developed 10 affordable homes for local people in the village, and has taken on the village shop and post office to be run as community enterprises.
Exeter Local Food
Exeter Local Food runs the Real Food Store, a community owned shop, bakery and café in Exeter, connecting local people with local food suppliers.
Bradworthy Community Land Trust
Bradworthy Community Land Trust has developed 10 affordable homes for local people in the village.