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Levelling up: how local communities can lead the way

  • by JW

… especially in rural areas


If localities are struggling, shouldn’t any ‘levelling up’ be from the bottom up?

Here are some ways ahead:

How does community ownership help?

‘Left behind’ does not mean that rural communities are failing to ‘catch up’. As the new briefing paper by NICRE points out, the urban bias towards ‘towns’ and ‘cities’ in current Levelling Up proposals overlooks untapped potential in rural places.
Rural communities are innovative and responsive to change – this is evident in the continuous growth of community-owned businesses, with over 800 now operating across the UK. Even during the pandemic, and against a backdrop of a long-term decline in rural services, the Better Form of Business reports by the Plunkett Foundation found that the community shops and pubs sectors grew by 3% and 11% in 2020, with over £3m raised in community shares to open new businesses…

Community ownership: how local people can lead the way on Levelling Up – NICRE – Newcastle University

Five ways that community businesses are fighting the climate crisis

In Plunkett’s Rural Vision, we emphasised the potential for community businesses to harness their positive environmental impact to go beyond a post-pandemic recovery and create a broader rural renaissance, building a fairer and more sustainable economy.
For community businesses, this mean reducing the carbon footprint of products and services, helping local people to live sustainably, and setting up new initiatives to benefit the environment. Community ownership makes sustainable living affordable and accessible to all:

Local food & farming
Woodlands & land management
Green energy generation
Reducing Waste
Lowering carbon emissions

Five ways that community businesses are fighting the climate crisis – Plunkett | Plunkett Foundation

How to put Communities in Charge

To help put communities in charge, we’re calling for:
– Resources to be made available to the people and places which need it mos
– Local people to scrutinise all spending decisions through a dramatic increase in accountability, including citizen panels
– At least a quarter of the fund to go directly to local people to invest in their own priorities for the economy

Download the Communities in Charge Report (.pdf)

How to put Communities in Charge – Locality

Especially in rural areas:

Rural Vision – Plunkett | Plunkett Foundation

NICRE Briefing Paper No 2 November 2021 The strategic case for equitable recognition of rural economies in Levelling Up policies.pdf