Crisis aid scheme is a patchwork, new research finds

The abolition of a national system of crisis loans and community care grants has left a patchwork of emergency help offered by local services and charities, research by Urban Pollinators has found. When people are offered assistance, the help is often faster and more responsive to the needs of people in crisis than in the […]

How to create community assets

  Since 1992, several hundred homes in a corner of west London have been the standard-bearers of a new form of community control. Previously owned by Westminster Council, they were transferred to a resident-controlled housing association, Walterton and Elgin Community Homes, under the 1988 ‘tenants’ choice’ legislation. Walterton and Elgin Community Homes (WECH) arose from […]

Social value starts with the way we think

Would you ask a convicted armed robber to help you move house? Of course not. Yet a social enterprise in Manchester has been getting some of the city’s most prolific offenders to do just that. Trafford Housing Trust’s CleanStart project looks after empty properties and prepares them for new tenants. It also does removals. More than 200 […]

Inspiration of the week: young people speak out about the riots

This week we feature a guest post from 18-year-old Susanna Dobson, associate research assistant at De Montfort University’s Centre for Social Action.   Just two weeks after the riots in England filled our television screens with images of burning, looting and violence, I took part in a day of discussion and workshops with young people […]

Inspiration of the week: Walsall 100

An experiment that involved Walsall Council tweeting round the clock for 24 hours proved so successful that they stepped things up a gear. Walsall 24 was a way of drawing attention to the tens of thousands of things that councils do for their residents in the course of a day. By definition, these ‘everyday’ activities […]

Inspiration of the Week: Saving Wooler Library

  For a town which boasts Daniel Defoe and Sir Walter Scott among its first visitors, losing the public library would have been an irony indeed. But the residents of Wooler in Northumberland will be able to continue borrowing books – historical or otherwise – thanks to the intervention of the Glendale Gateway Trust. Wooler […]

Inspiration of the Week: The Parks Trust, Milton Keynes

Concrete cows notwithstanding, Milton Keynes has always been a town with a commitment to the natural environment. When the vision for the new town was birthed in the 1960s, the plan was to make it a ‘forest city’, integrating the countryside into the urban landscape. The result was more than 4,500 acres of river valleys, […]

Inspiration of the Week: Halifax Opportunities Trust

Halifax Opportunities Trust shows how a social enterprise can sometimes step in to provide services that have previously relied on government funding – and some of the challenges such an approach raises. The trust was set up to continue some of the activities of the government funded West Central Halifax Partnership, which came to an […]

Inspiration of the week: the Redundant Public Servant

I spend a lot of time working with and talking to public servants, and people in private companies and voluntary organisations who work for the public on contract. So it’s worth taking a moment to praise someone who has done more, in my view, to raise the profile of public service than many a chief […]