To establish an accessible, open access, creative commons archive of materials relating to creating sustainable and resilient communities based on the publicly funded and extensive work undertaken in the North West in community development and neighbourhood regeneration over the thirty years up to 2010, most of which is currently unavailable and is held by former practitioners in the region. To be widely and actively publicized for learning for hopeful futures.
Progress to date: A substantial archive now exists and is on offer and has been thoughtfully box listed.
From the early 1970s, until 2010, a series of government policies and programmes in England – from both sides of the political spectrum – recognised the importance of community empowerment, engagement and resilience in a number of fields; employment, diversity, environment, learning, place management, arts & sport, cultural and geographical communities. Focused at various scales – regional, local, neighbourhood, household and individuals – and on various demographics and communities of interest, these initiatives were primarily funded by central and local government. That funding almost entirely dried up.
The advent of the coalition Government in 2010 changed all that. Funding was withdrawn, policy changed and existing websites shut down. Within three years, almost all of this experience, evidence and expertise was lost and has yet to be rebuilt. Arguably, the legacy has resulted in a breakdown in community, increased disaffection with Government and the establishment, a growing hostility to ‘the other’ and, coupled with falling incomes and diminished employment conditions, was a contributory factor in the Brexit vote.
The need for local support proven by these programmes is well evidenced in a wide number of Government evaluations and academic studies.
The loss of this intellectual capital has had severe consequences. In particular, closing down the websites which, by 2010 had become the primary means of publication and dissemination, has major consequences.
It is proposed to establish a regional interactive archive of good practice and to make it available to policy makers, researchers, practioners, professionals, educational institutions (primary, secondary, tertiary and adult), volunteers and community activists.
The core of the archive would initially consist of physically published reports, documents and materials collected by a small number of experienced community focused professions who worked in the region between 1970 and 2010. These include: Helena Kettleborough and Phil Barton. Others will be asked to contribute their materials and experience. It will be an aspiration to create an archive which can link with other similar such archives digitally.