Grassroots campaign We’re Right Here is calling for a Community Power Act. The Act would hand more control to communities, better enabling local people to take action to improve their neighbourhoods.
Community power emerges when people come together to respond to a common concern or issue. People and communities need to have greater power over the decisions and actions that affect their lives in order to improve and maintain their health.
Greater control over the decisions that impact us increases confidence and self-esteem which has a direct impact on our physical and mental health. Greater power to act as a community also enables us to take direct action against issues that have a negative impact on our health such as poor quality housing and an unsafe local environment.
People’s Health Trust is part of a coalition of national organisations supporting the We’re Right Here campaign and backing calls for a Community Power Act. The Trust is supporting the campaign because we know community power is a crucial determinant of health, and we know coming together as a community works.
Here are three examples of how our funded partners used community power to influence and make change in 2021.
Local Conversation in Lozells, supported by Aspire & Succeed.
Residents in a Lozells, a neighbourhood in West Birmingham, noticed an increase in fly tipping and littering in their community during the COVID-19 pandemic. The residents formed a group to host litter picks, they also harnessed their power as a community to appeal to the local council for a more permanent solution to be put in place. The Local Conversation influenced the local council to bring a recycling facility into the area once a week for people to use who couldn’t access recycling facilities further away. Local residents also worked with the council to target areas with older people and areas with higher rates of fly tipping to have a greater impact.
LEEP1 is an organisation supporting adults with learning disabilities in Leeds. Their project #AbilitiesnotDisabilities aims to change negative and harmful public percepts about people with learning disabilities. By coming together to use their skills and passions to campaign for change, project participants have been able build a business, secure local jobs and change people’s views. The project campaigns in schools to raise awareness of hate crime against people with learning disabilities and have addressed their local council to advocate for better employment opportunities. Read more about their use of community power as a tool for change here.
Local Conversation in Holyhead, supported by Mon CF
Mental health problems have been on the rise in the Holyhead, Anglesey and local residents leading the Local Conversation have been able to influence for change locally and nationally. The Local Conversation launched a campaign to deliver mental health training to 100 residents in their community. They were also able to gain the support of Virginia Crosbie, MP for Ynys Môn, who took the campaign to the UK Parliament and called for compulsory mental health training in workplaces. Read more about their impact and other partnerships here.