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
Success of the case studies are often down to their engagement strategy, which has involved not only engaging with the local community, but also a wide range of other stakeholders – voluntary and community organisations, businesses, service providers, local authorities and other statutory bodies, funders, umbrella organisations, other organisations doing similar things elsewhere etc. By being present and engaging at all these different levels the organisations have been able to build a greater understanding of their work, and relationships based on trust.
These partnerships are established in various ways but most of them appear to be critical to the sustainability of projects and the ongoing solutions.
Partnerships bring in different kinds of support or resources, be it financial, technical, logistic (rooms, administrative support, equipment), information, services, etc.
Partnerships can also help to drive the localisation of public services and resources (from central and local governments and private companies) towards community-led delivery, through procurement and commissioning of projects, and through general engagement from the community with in the management and delivery of public projects.
In the case of the Aquatic Centre, after an initial campaign by the community, the budget was agreed by the local authority and a partnership between the community and authority was built in order to manage the facility, the whole project is said to offer health, economic and employment benefits
for the whole region.
Both Organiclea and MVCRP have people who regularly volunteer for them and who provide invaluable support. They also benefit from a strong network of connections who are supportive of what they do and who they can call upon. These connections involve local residents but also people working in other organisations (e.g. library staff helping out at MVCRP events). Support has equally been available through umbrella organisations. For instance, Co-operatives UK helped Organiclea review its constitution, and MVCRP has benefited from the expertise and guidance of AoCRP (Association of Community Rail Partnerships).
The Citizen’s Foundation Wiesbaden has established itself as the platform for civic engagement in the city on issues that require a more independent voice than the public authorities can provide, the foundation convenes “Roundtables” on issues that are outside of the local authorities’ interests or comfort zone. The foundation is able to get community members involved in this dialogue through reaching out to people who are active in their clubs and societies, based on their interests and motivations. What does this bring in terms of partnerships with LA?