Communities Challenged to Solve Local Problems
The Neighbourhood Challenge will demonstrate how community organisations, when equipped with the right skills, and small, catalytic amounts of money can come up with innovative responses to local priorities.
NESTA, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts has launched a major new programme that will galvanize communities to respond to local priorities.
The Neighbourhood Challenge, launched by Nick Hurd MP, the Minister for Civil Society, will demonstrate how community organisations, when equipped with the right skills, and small, catalytic amounts of money can come up with innovative responses to local priorities, particularly in areas with low levels of social capital.
Jonathan Kestenbaum, NESTA’s Chief Executive says: “We know that there is huge untapped potential in all communities and now, more than ever, we need to find ways of unlocking the ingenuity of people in their local neighbourhoods. NESTA’s Big Green Challenge showed what was possible with an inspirational national call to action. The Neighbourhood Challenge will show how this success can be repeated at a hyper-local level.”
NESTA will work with partners to trial different approaches to community organising and supporting community-led innovation. Ten community organisations from across England will be selected to participate in the 18-month programme. Successful applicants will receive funding to trial an approach to community organising, with practical tools and training to help people set up local campaigns, new community projects and new social enterprises. NESTA will also help establish local social challenge prizes to incentivise and reward community-led action.
Jonathan Kestenbaum continued: “Communities know the challenges they face in their daily lives, whether its graffiti, crime, or the elderly feeling isolated. We now urgently need better evidence of what approaches work best and in which context.”
The Challenge will be rigorously evaluated to inform the Government’s thinking about how to make the Big Society work for all communities in the UK.
To register interest, or for more information, go to www.nesta.org.uk/neighbourhood_challenge. The deadline for submitting expressions of interest is 22nd November at 12 noon.
NESTA is the UK’s foremost independent expert on how innovation can solve some of the country’s major economic and social challenges. Its work is enabled by an endowment, funded by the National Lottery, and it continues to operate at no cost to the taxpayer.
NESTA is a world leader in its field and carries out its work through a blend of experimental programmes, analytical research and investment in early-stage companies. www.nesta.org.uk
Catherine Anderson / Expatica