Socially productive asset management
Effective use of community assets is critical to a well-functioning place and vital for our city's public services. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic over the last year, we have seen how valuable these assets are in creating strong and resilient communities. Sunderland Council recognises that as community leaders, we have a responsibility to make sure that local assets are well used, well-maintained and are supported with a sustainable business model. Sunderland Council has long been committed to ensuring our city's assets provide real value for our residents and visitors. We are proud to work with local community groups, including those that have taken on community assets, working together to deliver social value.
One of the biggest challenges councils and communities face is how to sustain valued local community assets in the face of ongoing austerity. A solution that has been proven to work for communities is asset transfer.
Beyond budgets: drivers of asset transfer
Sunderland Council believes community asset transfer is fundamentally about giving local people and community groups greater control in the future of their area and their community in line with promoting the Council's community wealth strategy. If local groups own or manage community buildings and land, such as community centres, sports pitches, allotments or changing rooms for example, it will help foster a sense of belonging and bring together people from different backgrounds. Community ownership of buildings can also play a part in raising local people's aspirations, in enhancing the local economy, environment and have the capacity to strengthen the community, voluntary and social enterprise sector.
Sunderland Council is taking the following actions to deliver this priority:
- Auditing existing asset portfolio to identify opportunities to increase social benefit - mapping across the city and across neighbourhoods
- Reviewing existing community asset policy to ensure community lease and rent arrangements are working effectively
- Determining a more proactive approach to communities taking ownership of assets including upskilling in business planning and governance
- Supporting management of assets linked with Community Support Workers and growing capacity within Sunderland's Voluntary and Community Sector