From neighbours to neighbourhood: learning on how to boost pride in place

Insights and learning

In a typical year, 42% of our grant holders tell us people have more local pride because of the services we support them to deliver

Based on evidence and learning from our grant holders, our tips on how to increase local pride include:

  • Empowering everyone: Beyond just being consulted, people need a real say in local decisions and how funding is allocated. This includes those who don’t usually have their voices heard or feel excluded. A diverse outreach team can help a wider range of people feel confident enough to speak up.
  • Improving amenities: Community ownership of key amenities, like food and transport, can make up for insufficient local provision. Where direct ownership can’t reach the scale required for local needs, it can still help in building an evidence base for improved services.
  • Enhancing the environment: Neighbourhoods need ‘bumping spaces’ where people meet by chance and interact naturally to get to know one another better. If these spaces are attractive and welcoming, they have a better chance of serving to deepen social bonds.
  • Valuing venues: When community venues are in community control, they naturally become hubs that respond quickly to local needs. The activities they offer can be a social lifeline, and help people to recognise one another as friends and neighbours rather than strangers.
  • Providing participation: Volunteering opportunities help people become actively engaged, but it’s important to provide a variety of roles and entry points. Linking opportunities to local and national celebrations can be a good way to engage new people.
  • Healing high streets: As retail declines, there is an opportunity to diversify high streets, offering a mix of community businesses, local services, housing, creative spaces, meeting places, and traditional retail. This can help communities feel ownership of their town centres.
  • Harnessing heritage: Engaging in local history can help people to build a sense of shared identity through learning more about their past. Heritage buildings offer a way to do this, especially when they are used as community venues that make everyone feel welcome.
  • Connecting through culture: Cultural events bring people together and give them an outlet to express themselves to one another. This strengthens community bonds, especially when events help people to connect across the dividing lines created by unconscious feelings of ownership and propriety in cultural spaces.