Councils ‘Failing’ Community Activists

Councils are failing to support local volunteers despite a recent survey finding nearly one third of residents would like to get involved as community activists.

A new report, entitled Powerful People, Powerful Places, sets out how councils and community organisations can get volunteers involved in local activities.

The research draws on conversations with residents in Milton Keynes, Liverpool and Truro, councillors and over 7,000 environmental campaigners, and found 30% said they would like to improve the place where they live.

Powerful People, Powerful Places explains how people are most concerned about those issues that impact them locally. It says more needs to be done to give residents the information and confidence to act.

‘Many councils across the UK have made great strides in engaging local people on environmental issue,’ said Tara Paterson, researcher at the Fabian Society and report author.

‘But as this research makes clear, the majority still have a long way to go. To build a truly participatory culture, councils and activists should be strategic – focusing on the third of people who want to get involved but are currently shut out.

‘This means meeting people where they are, focusing on the local benefit and making sure people are told how their activism has made a difference.’

Commenting on the report, Polly Billington, director at UK100, said: ‘The national conversation is currently focused on what “taking back control” means, and this report indicates there are real opportunities to make it a reality in a way that strengthens communities and enhances the world in which we live.

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