Debbie Ladds, chief executive of Local Trust, introduces this year’s new category for C’llr Achievement Awards 2016: Local Trust’s Community Collaborator Award. Who is it for and why does it matter?
At the Local Government Association conference in July 2016, we invited local and national political leaders and others to debate the value of devolving power to communities.
At our events, there was consensus that devolution from Whitehall shouldn’t just stop at the town hall. But there was also an acknowledgement that devolving more power to communities is easier said than done: it takes time and needs to be resourced.
At Local Trust, we believe that devolving more power to local communities can build social capital, maximise resources and foster community cohesion. Through our Big Local programme, we put £1m and range of support into the hands of residents in 150 areas around England. More than 5 years into the 15-year programme, we’re now seeing residents collaborating with local partners they trust – including councils – to deliver much-needed projects. Examples range from schemes to increase car sharing or boost participation in health checks, through to creating a new hub for youth services, or transforming abandoned land into a conservation area that supports local health and wellbeing. And in the process, we’ve seen that councillors who have a good understanding and respect for resident-led projects are vital collaborators in getting residents’ ideas into action.
Of course, effective councils will have many mechanisms set up to inform, consult and involve local people in the business of the council. But empowering residents in ways that enables them to transform their lives and their communities means devolving decision making and power and developing new approaches to support resident-led solutions in communities. It’s these pioneers of this work that we are keen to celebrate by sponsoring the new Community Collaborator category in this year’s C’llr Awards.
We hope the new award will generate more excitement and more debate on the vital questions of ‘devo max’ and the best ways to put more power in the hands of local residents.
The Community Collaborator award is looking for someone who has:
- found innovative ways to support residents to put forward ideas and implement them
- developed new relationships and regular communication between the council, residents and community groups
- collaborated with residents or a community group(s) to deliver a project that benefits the community, for example through co-creation or co-funding.
Please spread the word about the award – and if you know someone who fits the bill, nominate them as a Community Collaborator today.
Deadline for award nominations is Monday 22nd August!