Improving communities through spaces, skills and wellbeing
We can achieve great things when we work together to create a better society. At Co-op, we’ve focused our work in communities across the country on:
- creating and protecting community spaces
- supporting mental and physical wellbeing
- developing skills to create sustainable communities
We focus on these three priorities because 10,000 of our members, and the data in our Community Wellbeing Index told us that they have the most impact on communities.
The Index, developed with the Young Foundation and Geolytix, gives an insight into what’s important to people in a local community. You can visit the Community Wellbeing Index website and enter your postcode to see it in action. To find out more about how and why we built the Index, you can read the full report here.
Our shared spaces are under threat. For example, around 4,000 local authority buildings and land assets are being sold off each year. We know from the insights developed in our work on the Community Wellbeing Index that the spaces and places where communities connect, from parks and green spaces to libraries and youth centres, are crucial to the wellbeing of communities as a whole.
That’s why, as part of our community plan we’re partnering with Locality, the national network for community organisations to help save, improve and protect 2,000 spaces by 2022. Find out how you can get involved here.
We recognise that there is only so much we can do by ourselves here at the Co-op. As well as taking action, we’re partnering with a range of different organisations and developing an evidence base on the importance of community spaces, the scale of the ongoing loss that communities are facing, and the existing solutions that different communities are using to develop spaces which are under threat.
Our ambition is to work together with others in order to develop this insight further, so that together we can influence Government to remove the barriers that make it difficult for community groups to take ownership of the places and spaces that matter to them.
In Community Hands: lessons from the past five years of Community Asset Transfer (CAT) is our research on the scale of CAT over the past five years. Having conducted a Freedom of Information exercise with every Local Authority in England and interviewed a range of community groups, we’ve also produced this appendix with guidance specifically designed for Local Authorities.
Our Endangered Spaces Report, published in June 2019 with our partners Locality, gives an insight into what matters to people in their local community. Read it to discover the scale of the endangered spaces issue.