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Supporting communities, preventing social exclusion and tackling need

Supporting communities, preventing social exclusion and tackling need: a report to Hammersmith United Charities on four low income estates in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham by LSE Housing

Laura Lane and Anne Power, LSE Housing

June 2009

10. Models for HUC to consider

We examined several options for a local charity wanting to help disadvantaged communities within a specific area of benefit. We found 5 to be most convincing although there are many variants for each of these models.

1. Local charity

There are many local charitable foundations and small charities across the country and their value cannot be too highly rated. The Cripplegate Foundation in Islington is an excellent example of one such body. Cripplegate is a local, independent charity which helps to bring local residents and organisations together to identify and promote new areas and ways of working.

“Our work with organisations is more than cash grant giving. Staff give advice to organisations on project development and management, premises, other sources of funding and local networks. Foundation staff meet all applicants and all funded projects are visited,”

Cripplegate’s mission is summarised in these words:

“We transform lives for people in Islington. We’re independent and trusted. The money we give improves lives for local people, building a better future for us all.”

This model offers insights useful for HUC’s plans to develop into a grant-giving body providing help within its specified area of benefit. It can also support community-based initiatives and self-help groups through this vehicle.

2. Community Foundation

Community Foundations are charities across the UK dedicated to strengthening local communities, creating opportunities and tackling issues of disadvantage and exclusion. Community Foundations have existed in the USA since 1914 when the first one was established in Cleveland, Ohio but they have only emerged in Britain since the 1990s (Guardian Society, 30th April 2008 David Brindle interview with Stephen Hammersley).

“Community Foundations provide extensive support to their local voluntary and community sector.”

A report was published recently by New Philanthropy Capital which examined the role that community foundations play in helping local organisations and communities. They found that community foundations offered more support to small, local organisations than other funders, for example providing training and assistance, and that they were able to provide a bridging link between donors and community organisations that community groups alone were generally unable to make. They also emphasised that community foundations, as small, local charities that were independent of government, were more flexible and able to respond more quickly to priorities as they arose (New Philanthropy Capital, 2009, p9).
There is already a Community Foundation in operation in Hammersmith and Fulham – the Thames Community Foundation. It is an independent charity which aims to target donations for the long-term benefit of the local community. The Foundation is also active in a number of other boroughs in West London: Hounslow, Kingston, Merton, Richmond, Sutton and Wandsworth.

“Our vision is to improve the quality of life for people living in the areas we serve by promoting local giving to meet local needs… We aim to make it easy for individuals, companies and organisations to support local community projects by managing charitable funds set up on their behalf.”

3. Community Hub

A community hub provides office bases and meeting spaces for charities and other local social and community groups, offering shared facilities, office support, networking, environmental and social benefits. There are examples of community hubs across the country including Edinburgh’s Melting Pot.

“The Melting Pot is a unique place in the heart of Edinburgh that provides spaces for individuals and organisations to work, connect, meet and hold events. The Melting Pot is a not-for-profit social enterprise that aims to inspire and support people to realise their ideas for a better world.”

4. Social Enterprise

Social Enterprises are not-for-profit income generating organisations set up to benefit low income communities, providing local services and facilities, in part at least, paid for by income generating activities.

The Shoreditch Trust is an award winning charitable regeneration agency charged with managing a range of projects addressing the Government’s key neighbourhood renewal themes such as neighbourhood management, housing renewal, crime and community safety, health and wellbeing, education and worklessness, community assets, community engagement and culturally-led regeneration.
The social enterprise approach means that the Trust can broker deals that benefit local people and make meaningful partners of developers and the private sector.

“Shoreditch Trust is community-led but commercially aware. The Trust knows the value of people but also understands the dynamics of business; working collaboratively and recognising the value of the community to ensure that everyone it works with is enabled and supported to achieve and grow”

5. Development Trust

Development Trusts are community-owned and led organisations which use self-help, trading for social purpose, and ownership of buildings and land, to bring about long-term social, economic and environmental benefits in their local community. Development Trusts are independent, but work with partners in the public sector, private businesses, and with other community groups. Development Trusts are identified as community “anchor” organisations, delivering services and facilities, finding solutions to local problems, and helping other organisations and initiatives succeed.
The Development Trusts Association is a network and forum for all Development Trusts in the country providing for 444 full and emerging development trusts UK wide.

  • Development trusts work in communities that make up a quarter of the UK population
  • They have a combined income of £263m, of which £106m is earned income £489m of assets are in community ownership
  • 4,500 staff and 17,000 volunteers work with development trusts
  • Development trusts provide support to almost 10,000 community groups and 9,000 small businesses
  • Development trusts engage in a wide range of community focussed activities and services

There are also charitable models of estate-based youth and family centres that could help HUC if it decides to explore the focus of its actions in that direction. Stockwell Park Youth Centre (Lambeth) and Bloomsbury Youth Centre (Birmingham) are two examples.

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