Community Asset Transfers
A Brief History
Central government has made a commitment to empower citizens by transferring the ownership and management of public sector land and assets to community organisations.
In 2006, the white paper, 'Strong and Prosperous Communities' stated that the government was determined to ensure existing powers and policies to support community management were effective and asked Barry Quirk, Chief Executive of Lewisham Council, to lead on a review and make recommendations on how this could be implemented.
In May 2007 the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) published 'Making Assets Work', otherwise known as the Quirk Review. The review found there were positive benefits of community ownership and management and made recommendations to the government.
The government accepted these recommendations and an implementation plan called 'Opening the Transfer Window' was published.
Then in 2007 the government published its 'Empowerment Action Plan' bringing together the actions that communities and local government needed to take to enable more people to play an active role in the decisions that affected their communities.
The DCLGs 'Communities in Control: real people real power' 2008 white paper confirmed ongoing support for the Quirk Review by establishing a national Asset Transfer Unit and extending the Advancing Assets Programme for a further year. They also announced a £70 million 'Communitybuilders' fund which opened in September 2009.
Warrington Disability Partnership - Centre for Independent Living Project
In March 2008 the Council were awarded almost £1 million from the Big Lottery Community Assets Fund to renovate the Centre for Independent Living building in Beaufort Street and have worked in partnership with Warrington Disability Partnership to deliver the project.
The project provides Warrington Disability Partnership with a sustainable (Council owned) building that will be transferred to them on a 30 year lease. The key aim of the project is to provide a professional, welcoming and modern environment to service users and the wider community and to provide a focal point for the local community and to aid social cohesion.
The project has recently completed and Warrington Disability Partnership have moved back into the building.
The Third Sector Partnership Team are looking at future projects and would welcome input from any voluntary and community groups who have a serious interest in becoming involved in the transfer of a council owned building.