Some benefits of community ownership and management
There are many benefits to communities owning and managing assets, which depend on the type and scale of the community ownership.
Some of these are:
- Increased use of facilities by the community
- Income generation to support community projects and enterprise
- Service delivery that responds to local aspirations and needs
- Opportunity to shape specific services for disadvantaged groups that may not have their needs met by traditional public services
- Shared projects led by residents which helps to build a stronger sense of local identity, pride, confidence, achievement and belonging
- Opportunities for people to volunteer in their community
- Better cared for environment and more confidence in the place
- More attractive location for new and expanding businesses
- People from different backgrounds are brought together, improving community cohesion and integration
- Development of leaders and entrepreneurs
- Provision of employment opportunities at local level.
Community ownership of assets has been tried many times before, sometimes successfully and sometimes less successfully. In some communities it has lead to perceptions that only one particular group or organisation could use the facilities that had been transferred. In other instances the community did not have the right form of training and support to manage the assets to their full potential. It is important to ensure that the governance of any community assets is transparent and accountable to local people and that those managing assets are supported to fulfil their role successfully.
The Quirk Review acknowledged these difficulties but concluded that most of the barriers to greater community ownership and management of public assets can be overcome.