The Power of Place

Place-based working addresses the unique needs of people in a specific location. It is a citizen-centred approach that emphasises collaboration and shared resources.

But place-based working isn’t new. The majority of work to address social challenges and build cohesive communities happens in a place. The definition of place itself is subjective; from a couple of streets up to a city or Local Enterprise Partnership. Across different sectors, individuals, communities and organisations are working in a multitude of ways in places.

No single approach has all the answers but we all have unique knowledge and experience which there is value in sharing with each other. We will be doing this at #PowerofPlace on April 25 where we will build on the momentum behind a new wave of place-based work, putting communities at the heart of their local areas to deliver the change they want to see.

Why are we focusing our efforts in places?

People, communities and services operate within a complex system. Communities are best placed to know their own local challenges and the assets they have amongst them, but we recognise that they can’t always achieve change alone. The systems in which they live, work and play need to change alongside them. Bringing services and facilities closer to those they intend to benefit and putting communities at the heart of their design and delivery can improve how they work and their impact for citizens.

Why focus on place now?

The ambition to see local change is nothing new, but following the vote for Brexit there has been increased interest across government, funders and practitioners in local places, and their role in societal change and inclusive economic and social growth.

Opportunities for a more concerted place-based approach to tackling social issues are appearing. Devolution, for example, is enabling places to have more control over their services and develop a more joined up response to local challenges.

Over the last decade communities have seen their living standards decline and local services under ever increasing strain with local spending continuing to be cut under ongoing austerity. In light of many of these challenges it’s encouraging to see a continued interest in local or regional approaches.

Place-based change relies on the contribution of various actors, no one service or organisation can do this alone. Families, communities, local organisations and statutory services all have a role to play in place-based change. And if we are to recast the system in such a way then it is critical that we see more information sharing between people and places, harnessing the collective power of the system to address place-based challenges.

This is why Collaborate, Lankelly Chase Foundation, Local Trust, Locality and Power to Change are bringing together over 100 people from various sectors to discuss the Power of Place; to share their experiences, learning and think creatively to achieve better outcomes for our communities.

From community members making a change in their own neighbourhoods to Central Government departments we will be sharing our thoughts, learning from each other, and challenging one another on whether we are doing the right thing and how we will know that we are.

Power of Place is happening 25 April, join our discussion at #PowerofPlace, and keep an eye on twitter for updates and reflection pieces following the gathering.