Across Britain, many communities are facing challenges – losing shops and services, experiencing high levels of unemployment, reducing opportunities for young people, and a sense of isolation, particularly for older people. In some areas, communities are coming together to solve problems for themselves. They succeed because no-one better understands the problems of a community than those who live there. People are coming together to take control and solve for themselves the issues that matter to them, by creating ‘community businesses’. A community business is owned and run by people who live in a community for the benefit of that community. They are open to anyone locally who wants to get involved and their profits are recycled back into the area to enrich local lives. Examples include communities coming together to save local shops from closure; to set up a community hub to provide a place for people to meet and work; or developing a community led housing project to help regenerate a local area community businesses are built on the simple idea that while it’s hard to solve problems alone, by working together we can achieve so much more
Community Catalysts and community business
Power to Change is the organisation set up to grow and support community businesses in England using funding from the Big Lottery. They have funded Community Catalysts to design and manage an exciting new project using our approach, tried and tested with community enterprise and adapting it for community business. This is a pioneering programme of work, the learning from which will inform the establishment of a wider community of practice of people working innovatively to harness the resource of communities.