New Research sets out Benefits of Community Ownership

New Research sets out Benefits of Community Ownership
Big Lottery Fund (Scotland)
31.08.11

Lottery investment creates jobs, boosts confidence and reduces anti-social behaviour.
 
Communities which own their own assets are better placed to develop and manage services to meet the needs of local people according to research published this week by the Big Lottery Fund (BIG). In addition, the research indicates that community owned buildings or equipment are valued by communities themselves, leading to a decrease in vandalism and other related anti-social behaviour.

Jackie Killeen, the Scotland Director of the Big Lottery Fund welcomed the publication of the research, saying: “This research demonstrates that investment from our Growing Community Assets programme has helped Scottish communities equip themselves with greater self confidence and increased autonomy, and has allowed communities to develop services to meet the changing needs of people in their local area. On top of this, communities have used Lottery funding to create new jobs and locally based businesses at a time when many communities are facing challenges in this area.

“Community ownerships of assets present real benefits to communities, whether this asset is a piece of land, a building or equipment. I’m pleased to also see that our projects report that this is also a factor in reducing the level of anti-social behaviour such as vandalism directed towards such facilities.”

In 2008 BIG commissioned SQW Consulting to carry out a five year evaluation of the Growing Community Assets programme. These are the findings of Phase Two of the evaluation carried out between 2009 and 2011.

Key Findings:

The research commissioned by BIG and produced by independent researchers SQW states:

• Most Growing Community Assets (GCA) projects stated that community ownership provided increased confidence, autonomy and a legacy for the future.
• Community facility projects felt that they could be responsive to local needs and sufficiently flexible to make changes as their communities change.
• Community-owned assets also seemed to be subjected to less anti-social behaviour.
• As well as making communities self-sufficient in electricity, renewable energy projects empowered communities by securing an income stream for reinvestment. They instilled pride in communities and gave them confidence to take on other projects.
• Community ownership helped community social enterprises earn stronger balance sheets, putting them in a better position to secure other funding and to diversify their income. It also permitted them to increase their operational capacity and heightened sense of security.

In the 36 projects completed to date:

• 25,000 people across Scotland are using the services and facilities provided
• Training for 466 people has been carried out to date  
• The projects are supporting around 129 full time jobs, plus a further 79 part time jobs.
• In total, 80 businesses have been accommodated in GCA-funded premises, and 11 new businesses have started as a result of, or as part of, GCA projects.
 
Across all 72 projects surveyed, it is estimated that:

• 709 people are involved in project management
• A further 376 people (from 28 different projects) are providing ad-hoc assistance
• Across 54 projects, it is estimated that there are 1,327 regular volunteers.

A full copy of the of the evaluation can be found here

For More details contact the Big Lottery Fund Press Office 07789 033457 or 0141 242 1458 Public Enquiries Line: 0870 240 2391 Textphone:  0845 6021 659  Full details of the Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available on the website: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk