Don Foster sees community spirit in action in Bristol

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Communities Minister Don Foster is in Bristol today seeing how the local community are stepping up and stepping in to take charge of treasured…

Communities Minister Don Foster is in Bristol today seeing how the local community are stepping up and stepping in to take charge of treasured local facilities and provide vital services.

Visiting the St Werburghs Centre, the Minister was given a glimpse of community spirit in action, meeting the local residents who rely on the centre on a daily basis for services as well as a meeting place that welcomes the whole community. The centre is home to over 180 member groups and five tenant organisations who are working with the local community.

The visit comes two weeks after the Community Right to Bid came into force, giving communities the opportunity to ‘stop-the clock’ on the sale of valuable local assets and amenities like post offices, village shops or community pubs, giving them time to put in a takeover bid of their own and protect it for the wider community’s benefit.

The new Right gives voluntary and community organisations and parish councils the opportunity to nominate an asset to be included on a list of ‘assets of community value’, pausing the sale of a successfully listed asset for six-months.

Communities Minister Don Foster said:

Communities know their local areas best and that is why we are pushing power back to neighbourhoods.

The St Werburghs centre is a great example of community spirit in action and testament of the determination and appetite of the local community to improve the places where they live and shape their future.

“The Community Right to Bid creates even more opportunities for people to step up and step in to save the facilities and buildings that are important to them, giving them the time to ‘stop the clock’ on sales so they have the time to get together a bid and ensure that prized local assets can live on, this time run by the local community for the local community”

Locality, in partnership with The Social Investment Business and Local Government Association are helping to support communities to take control of their local area. The My Community Rights advice service: (external link) and online hub gives step by step advice, breaking down the legislation, with inspiration and ideas on using the new Community Right to Bid to make sure local amenities stay in the hands of those who care about them most.

Steve Wyler, CEO, Locality said:

The Community Right to Bid presents incredible opportunities for communities to retain land and buildings for local people - owned and used by those who value them most. Locality believes in community independence and will play a vital role empowering organisations and individuals to take control of their area.

We are working with local authorities to create registers of ‘assets of community value’ and encourage people to get in touch through the advice service so that we can help them navigate the path to saving their local shop, the sports or community centre, green spaces

The visit coincides with the launch new advice for local councils to ensure they have all of the information they need to support local communities in their Right to Bid.