Community-led regeneration is vital to tackling the long-term issues facing coastal communities in England, according to a new report.
Locality, the national membership network which supports local community organisations to be strong and successful, conducted research to drive forward regeneration and promote positive change on the coast.
Last autumn, research was carried out with community organisations and local authorities, thanks to funding from Power to Change, to focus on four areas: green initiatives and environmental education, protecting and providing local jobs, health and wellbeing and affordable housing and workspaces.
The research, carried out in Birkenhead, Hastings, Newquay, Amble and Great Yarmouth, highlighted the importance of the role that community power must play in ensuring a fairer and greener recovery in coastal areas, led by the needs and aspirations of local -people.
Locality’s key recommendations include putting communities in charge of the upcoming UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) by devolving at least a quarter of funding to community-led partnerships. A campaign has been set up called Communities in Charge, which is a coalition of local people, community groups, businesses and national organisations all calling for communities to be put directly in charge of the government’s post-Brexit fund for economic regeneration.
Locality also recommended establishing a national Community Ownership Fund which will provide communities with the funding needed to breathe new life into local buildings and ensure the community uses derelict buildings.
A spokesperson for Locality said: “Sustainable change requires long-term investment and crucially, trust in community-led solutions.
“Our new research shows the story of strength, resilience and creativity on our coast and the community organisations which are harnessing these unique assets and bringing local people together to tackle local challenges and create opportunity.
“Coastal communities are some of the places worst affected by the impacts of climate change, such as coastal erosion and rising sea levels. But they are also at the forefront of the solutions to the climate emergency.
“By coming together as a network of community organisations, we aim to share best practices, create connection and exchange skills and ideas between communities around our coast. We also seek to strengthen the collective voice of coastal communities and harness our collective evidence base to influence national policymaking.”