The It’s Our Community project has now ended

It’s Our Community (IOC) started in 2011 and was a project to explore and share how communities come together to take ownership of local assets and services. It explored best practice from community ownerships projects in the UK, France, Portugal and Germany.

Overview of project and its achievements

By developing guidance, undertaking research and holding events, the IOC project supported community ownership on the ground in the UK and elsewhere through connecting ideas, support and resource.

It produced guidance on enabling community-owned projects to develop, from their initial ideas towards a sustainable and thriving formal entity. It also provided in-depth case studies on how community led projects respond to local needs across England and identified how very local community projects can be creative in a challenging environment.

A policy report was published making recommendations on what needs to be in place to provide the right conditions for continued community-led action, and also the work that needs to be carried out by governments to link up localised responses.

As part of NCVO’s work on how European Structural and Investment Funds could be used to better benefit communities, IOC conducted research on opportunities for community-based organisations: ‘Building capacity in individuals and communities: the value of funds small projects learning from the European Social Fund community grants programme 2011-2013’.

The final report ‘It’s Our Community – Innovations in community-led services’ was focussed on the experience of small community-led projects in England, and how communities come together to drive innovative service delivery to address local need.

What next?

This site will be closing shortly, and we’ll also be closing the Twitter account. All the project’s reports will continue to be available on NCVO’s Scribd page. If you’d like to stay in touch with developments from NCVO on public services, please register for our public services emails.

If you are interested in engaging on the local community-led element of the new European Structural and Investment Funds in England, or if you have a query about the project, please contact us at NCVO.

We’d like to thank the many people from across the UK and Europe who helped make the project work by sharing their experience and expertise with us.


  • NCVO

    The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) is the largest umbrella body for the voluntary and community sector in England.

    We give voice and support to civil society. NCVO believes passionately in the voluntary and community sector. This is a sector with the power to transform the lives of people and communities for the better. NCVO represents and promotes the interests of the sector.

    We are currently seeking to develop understanding of the Good Society, in order to inform and influence policy commitments of the Coalition Government. The focus of our work is around the four key themes set out in our Civil Society agenda: wellbeing, social cohesion, climate change and financial security.

Supported By

  • Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

    The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation is a charitable foundation established in Portugal in 1956 with cultural, educational, social and scientific interests. The Foundation's Headquarters are in Lisbon with offices in London (the UK Branch) and Paris. The founder, Calouste Gulbenkian, was an Armenian born near Istanbul who worked in Britain and became a British citizen, lived in France and settled in Portugal.

    The purpose of the UK Branch is to help enrich and connect the experiences of people in the UK and Ireland and secure lasting and beneficial change. We have a special interest in supporting those who are most disadvantaged and we place a particular emphasis on maximising the beneficial impact of our work through encouraging cross-border exchanges of lessons and experiences. As a small branch we can be nimble but cannot provide large-scale continuous funding. As part of one of the largest European foundations we are well positioned to address transnational issues and can act as an 'exchange' for ideas.


    NESTA is the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts - an independent body with a mission to make the UK more innovative. NESTA's endowment status means we operate at no cost to the UK taxpayer. NESTA invests in early-stage companies, informs policy, and delivers practical programmes that inspire others to solve the big challenges of the future.

    NESTA does not work alone. Our success depends on the strength of the partnerships we form with innovators, policymakers, community organisations, educators and other investors. We bring the best ideas, new flows of capital and talented people together, and encourage others to develop them further.