Many of you will be thinking of attending events in your local area as part of National Allotment week to celebrate how important allotments and other open spaces are for you and your local community. Allotments have many benefits. They bring people together and unite them through their shared love of low-cost, healthy fresh fruit and vegetables, physical exercise and social interaction.
Allotments are a valuable resource, and both you as individuals and as community groups take immense pride in their up keep and produce. As allotment holders you are already active in your local community. However, did you know that there are powers available that can help you and others in your local community shape and improve the neighbourhood in which you live? These powers, known as Community Rights, give recognition to valuable community assets such as allotments, pubs, local shops and community centres and can help ensure that these assets continue to be of benefit to local people.
You are able to list your allotment as an Asset of Community Value and this is where the Community Right to Bid comes in. It can help to protect vital community assets such as allotments in your neighbourhood. Allotments add to the wellbeing of local communities and you and your neighbours can therefore nominate your allotment to be put on a list of Assets of Community Value by your Local Authority. If an Asset of Community Value is then put up for sale, local community groups can ‘pause’ the sale for six months while they raise the funds to bid to buy it.
Nearly 140 allotments have been listed by local community groups across the country. Are you one of them? If so you can now apply for an ACV Certificate to celebrate your allotment.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details about getting a personalised certificate for you to print out and display to let everyone know how much your allotment is valued by your local community. For more information about assets of community value and how to protect them please visit http://mycommunity.org.uk/programme/community-asset-ownership/.
The Ministry of Housing, for Communities and Local Government has also produced a simple guide to community rights called ‘You’ve got the power?’.
You can also have your say in the way your neighbourhood develops in the future. Neighbourhood planning enables local communities to shape the places where you live and work. Over 2000 communities have started neighbourhood planning in their area and around a third of the neighbourhood plans which are now in force include policies on allotments. If you’re interested to find out how you can get started, there’s lots of information here: www.neighbourhoodplanning.org.
If you’re involved in your local area, you can also join the Advice Community Forum on My Community website and chat to experts and connect with others who are also passionate about their community. Through the Forum:
- Inspiration and tips from other people from across the country
- Quick responses to questions about community activity and programmes
- Networking with like-minded and experienced people
- Coaching and mentoring from experts in the field
These are just some of the community rights that you can use to take more control over the place that you live, the decisions that affect you and the services that you value. Thousands of people in communities across the country are already using their rights to make positive changes in their area. If you’re interested in doing the same, find out more about your community rights and how to use them by visiting www.mycommunity.org.uk