What is Community First?


 Big Society drive to boost local social action begins 6 October 2011

The £80 million Community First fund, will provide small grants to community groups and local social action projects,

This is a flagship Big Society initiatives which will encourage people to do more to help each other out and give them the tools they need to make a difference.

Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, said:

“People are frustrated about not being able to make a difference in the communities in which they live. This is especially true in areas of high deprivation that have been failed, again and again, by ineffective programmes that are imposed without an understanding of the unique problems in each area.”

“Community Organisers and Community First will allow local people to work together, take control of their lives and create the change they want to see. We’re giving power back to people and supporting them to make their communities better places to live. This is part of a much wider drive to help revive social action and build a bigger, stronger society.”

The policies outlined by Nick Hurd will  include:

  • Giving communities a greater say over their local planning system and saving local services, such as post offices and pubs
  • Creating a new generation of community organisers that will be trained to support the establishment of neighbourhood groups and introducing measures to encourage giving and philanthropy
  • Encouraging volunteering and involvement in social action, including launching a national ‘Big Society Day’ and making regular community involvement a key element of key civil service staff appraisals
  • Piloting a new National Citizen Service which aims to give 16 year olds the chance to develop the skills needed to be active and responsible citizens, mix with people from different backgrounds, and start getting involved in their communities
  • Supporting mutual, co-operatives, charities and social enterprises and giving them greater involvement in the running of public services. Funds from dormant bank accounts will be used to establish a Big Society Bank, which will provide new finance for neighbourhood groups, charities, social enterprises and other non-governmental bodies
  • Increasing access to government-held data through a new ‘right to data’ for citizens to ensure Government data is published. The Police will be obliged to publish monthly crime statistics
  • Extending powers for local government by giving a general power of competence to local councils and conducting a comprehensive review of local government finance in order to help remove restrictions that limit the work of local councils.