Community ownership and management of assets

Transferring assets, such as community centres or parks to local people can give communities a greater opportunity to shape the way these assets are run to ensure that they provide the maximum benefit to local people.

Lessons Learned

The most successful organisations will be able to use assets to generate an income that can then be invested in providing a wider range of services that local people need.

See: Milton Keynes

Exploiting the possibilities of a site for social enterprise might prove to be a key factor in the economic success of any project. Naturally, being in the centre of a major city is a significant advantage but every area will have its potential sources of revenue.

See: Coin Street

Often the positive effects of the type of work that stewardship organisations can provide are not easily described in variables that can be measured, but this should not detract from recognition of their work.

See: Hull

Residents can be key members of stewardship teams but in order to fill these roles they will need training and capacity building to fulfil their roles with confidence.

See: Salford and Hull

Questions to consider:

  • Are there assets or facilities included in a planned new community that could be best managed by local people?
  • How do these link to the planned section 106Glossary: (S106) allows a local planning authority (LPA) to enter into a legally-binding agreement or planning obligation with a property developer for the benefit of the community agreement?
  • Is there potential for community groups to set up social enterprisesGlossary: Social enterprises are profit-making businesses set up to tackle a social or environmental need?
  • How can communities be involved in deciding how community generated income is spent?
  • Why it is important to promote capacity buildingGlossary: refers to assistance which is provided to organisations or individuals to help them develop a certain skill or competence. when transferring assets to communities?

Community ownership and management of public assets are means of empowering communities. There are many benefits, including providing revenue streams to use for other community purposes. Wealth creation through the new use of an existing facility, be it a centre, a shop, a housing estate, or a school, can help improve confidence in that place. It can help to restore the viability of local businesses, and it can help to restore land values and attract new investment.

While fixed public assets in a community - the roads, parks, publicly owned land, buildings and facilities - are key resources for communities, the full benefits will only be realised if they are used to their full potential. Community ownership and management generates its own demands upon community groups in terms of time, skills and capacity, and will not always be the best approach. However, at present community groups and social enterprisesGlossary: Social enterprises are profit-making businesses set up to tackle a social or environmental need are not always able to make the most of their potential and could potentially do much more to benefit their communities if they had more control over assets and received more support from local public and other agencies to own and manage them.

Further Reading

Elements within this ingredent:

1. 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.

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2. Building community capacity

The opportunity to manage services and assets for the community can be an exciting challenge for residents. However not all local people will have experience of this kind of work and can benefit from training and support to help them fulfil this role.

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3. Transferring land into community ownership

Community groups and stewardship organisations should be encouraged to explore options to take over responsibility for underused public land and buildings where it is appropriate to meet the needs of the organisation and the wider community.

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4. Generating and spending revenue

The most successful community-run facilities or enterprises will be able to generate enough income to fund the maintenance of the building or space they are managing.

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5. The role of social enterprises in new communities

In establishing and managing new communities, social enterprises could fulfill a number of functions, such as maintaining community buildings or open spaces, or providing services for the community, for example care services for older residents.

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