Across the UK, people and communities have voted for change. 

This is a pivotal time for our country. It’s a chance to rebuild, putting the needs, insights and ideas of local people at the heart of policies and practice, and reimagining the ways in which communities interact with the institutions and processes that influence their prospects, planet and local places.  

A ‘community up’ policy vision, that is empowered through national, local and regional governance, can ignite the potential for growth and innovation that exists in our neighbourhoods. It can improve people’s lives, support healthier places, and create the conditions for a productive, caring and just society. 

But as each UK community has a unique blend of capabilities, opportunities and needs, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the social, environmental and economic challenges we face. The key is deep and meaningful collaboration between communities, businesses, civil society, and policy-influencers across all sectors. 

This is much needed. Across the UK today, we see local communities expressing dissatisfaction and a lack of trust in politics and politicians. Not helped by scandals and wrongdoing, this is emblematic of a deeper malaise, where rhetoric does not match reality. People need to see improvements in their quality of life, and believe that politicians are working in their interests. 

Policymakers and businesses must now work not just for but with people, co-creating policy that can unlock community potential, reap the benefits of rapidly advancing technologies and emerging opportunities, and enable every neighbourhood to thrive in a fairer, greener and more prosperous future. 

Local people know their neighbourhood better than anyone – and those that stand to win, lose or have their life changed by policy shifts and local developments can inform lasting, solutions – both at local and regional levels. That’s why The Young Foundation’s vision puts social participation where it needs to be on the legislative agenda, inviting governments at all tiers to seize the potential to build trusted relationships between policymakers, businesses and civil society, and local people. 

We believe every UK community deserves: 

  • safe and inclusive places where everyone feels valued, secure and able to participate positively in society 
  • equitable prospects and prosperity with opportunities to learn, upskill and find meaningful employment, strengthening our neighbourhoods and our economy 
  • a fair green future with local plans and innovation, as well as national policy and investment, to ensure every person thrives in a changed climate 
  • a strong and connected society where people have easy access to local places and services, and communities are better equipped to respond to crisis 

Read our vision for a fairer, greener and more prosperous UK.

Community leadership Inequality Local government & public services Systems change Posted on: 9 July 2024 Authors: Helen Goulden OBE, Jessica Moore, Jacob Coburn,


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