Lack of affordable housing divides the UK. Renters struggle with higher living costs on lower wages. There is another way. In Devon, a community land trust could stop the decline of a village by helping young people stay and own homes. In Liverpool, Anfield residents are trialing a mutual model to share ownership of property.
Food production must increase 70 per cent to cope with a global population of nine billion by 2050, according to the UN. In London, urban farmers are growing salads in warehouses close to consumers, using new light technology. Meanwhile schoolchildren in Leeds are teaching their parents how to save money and stop waste.
Communities that share control over assets are able to shape their own destiny. In Scotland, a village was revived when residents saved their harbour from neglectful private owners, while a community-owned whisky distillery in the Highlands has the potential to transform the fortunes of a forgotten town. Preston Council is supporting co-operatives to stop wealth leaking out of the city after huge budget cuts. A workers’ guild in East London is helping traders fight for survival amid spiralling rents and business rates.
Coastal areas counted the highest support for Brexit. People are angry about poor governance of the natural resources the UK relies on for food, jobs, recreation and energy. Around the country, communities are taking matters into their own hands. In Swansea, tidal lagoon technology is at the heart of a long-running campaign to shift the UK to clean power, while an initiative in Brexit-heartland Lincolnshire supports the seaside economy.
Local economies have been stunted by banks and local governments failing to invest in small businesses. Communities around the UK are invoking their power to create cash and credit in response. In Glasgow’s diverse Govanhill, an artist has created a currency to value overlooked and unpaid work by minority groups. Meanwhile the founders of the Bristol Pound are moving beyond currency to create local, sustainable credit to get enterprises off the ground.
Patients without beds, long waiting times, overstretched emergency services, neglected elderly patients and poor support for mental health: just some of the symptoms of a health and social care system in crisis. In Totnes, Caring Town is a groundbreaking way of bringing together the public, private and voluntary sector to plug gaps in services, while Choices4Doncaster is a co-operative working on an alternative way to help the elderly enjoy old age.