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Sunday, 18 April 2021
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Locality report shows that community power is the key to regenerating our seaside towns

A new report by Locality has shown that community-led regeneration is the key to tackling the long-term issues facing England’s coastal communities.  

It is well documented that coastal communities face disproportionately high levels of poor health, insecure employment and joblessness, and social deprivation. These places have also been some of the hardest hit by the economic impacts of lockdown.

Successive government policy and funding initiatives have failed to reverse this story. However, a new Locality report has shown that community organisations across England have been busy transforming their communities.

  • Amble Development Trust in Northumberland have helped put local jobs and skills at the heart of the town’s sustainable tourism model. This includes a community-owned lobster hatchery which both helps sustain the local lobster population and provide local jobs and training in a skilled industry.

Photograph credit: Amble Development Trust.

  • In Hastings, East Sussex, the community sector is giving residents a stake in the regeneration of their seaside resort town. This includes the Hastings Commons, formerly derelict buildings that have been renovated by the community and now provide affordable housing, retail and workspace.

These organisations have proven that the key to sustainable change is to put power and resources in the hands of people and groups that are embedded in their communities and truly understand their needs and strengths.

As Tony Armstrong, Locality’s Chief Executive, explains:

“Community organisations are harnessing the strengths, hope and creativity in coastal places to quietly transform their streets and towns.

“From renovating derelict buildings to provide local affordable housing in Hastings, to a community-owned lobster hatchery in Northumberland supporting skilled jobs and training in the fisheries industry, community organisations are leading the way in regenerating seaside towns.

“Many coastal communities have faced significant challenges around social and economic decline for many years. Successive governments have tried and failed to shift these trends through top-down initiatives. But our new research shows that to achieve sustainable change requires putting power and resources in the hands of those who truly understand the issues – local communities themselves.”

Here is the full Locality Report.

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