Communities across Europe taking ownership of local services and initiatives.
A project of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
In addition to motivations and interests, the people initially involved shared a common vision and values. The members of Organiclea believed in alternative models of food production and distribution that ran counter to the mainstream, and in the case of Carbon Co-op, people had a joint belief in social justice and the need for carbon reduction.
For each of the case study organisations, the initiatives were shaped in the early days by the skills that each of the community members brought to the project. For example, without the officers' knowledge of community engagement, partnership working and transport it is unlikely that MVCRP would have been successful in being officially designated a Community Railway. Likewise, Carbon Co-op is reliant on having access to technological know-how.
It is vital that community-owned projects are organised in such a way as utilise the range of local interests and skillsets. In the case of AVAal, the urban agricultural project, the activities are wide ranging in order to suit a variety of skills and interests. From inter-generational vegetable garden projects, to teaching community members how to grow in their own hanging baskets and pots; the vision for the future of AVAal is to promote the concept of a Civic Ecology, understood as “social development through actions of environmental value in local communities”. It should also offer different routes into participation and allow individuals to be involved in a variety of ways and at different levels depending on their availability and desire to be involved with the project. We discuss this further in the sustaining and thriving section.