The role of community anchor organisations to develop and sustain a community-led focus and vision, and insights into projects that build community capacity.

Word cloud ilustrating the breadth of the the community anchor role includeing: • community planning; health and social care; self-directed support • local democracy; participative democracy; deliberative democracy; citizenship • community empowerment; asset transfer; land reform • housing; welfare and anti-poverty; income maximisation • inequalities – health, social, economic; discrimination; • social enterprise; social economy; cooperatives • third sector; civil society; social economy • public service coordination; public procurement; • local economic development; community-led regeneration; inclusive economy • community resilience; local sustainable development; community-led placemaking • sustainable place-making; spatial planning; place-based approaches • ecological sustainability; community renewables; local environmentThe community sector includes a wide range of local not-for-profit organisations and groups – the local third sector. This research report explores the developing role of key independent community sector organisations known as community anchors  – community-led, multi-purpose organisations. It draws from six exemplar anchor organisations to explore their roles in public service reform and the potential roles of anchors in building local democracy, community resilience for sustainable development, and wider social change.

There’s also a think piece about community anchors which reflects on the potential of multi-purpose, independent community-led organisations, often called community anchors, to lead on ‘highly localised’ service design and delivery, and related local economic, social and democratic developments.

Our research report on Centrestage’s distinct food provision programme describes how it achieves impact and empowers individuals and communities in some of the most deprived areas of North and East Ayrshire. The questions cover three dimensions:

  • How does Centrestage make a difference? Values, practices, organisational culture and leadership.
  • What difference does Centrestage make? Immediate, intermediate and long term impact.
  • What lessons can be drawn to inform policy and practice? Scope for spread and sustainability.

The report explores how it contributes to empowering individuals and communities to be part of their own service, involving them in the design and delivery.

A Community Links project in rural Aberdeenshire was the focus for an inquiry into community capacity-building which improves health and wellbeing and supports the process of health and social care integration.

Activities developed during the Community Links project included: walking groups, lunch clubs and other social groups; support for volunteering; and informal partnership working across the local community sector, health services, other public services and the wider third sector.

The report identifies what makes for good practice in community linking and supports its development and spread. Community linking is a complex area of policy and practice that needs dialogue across public services and the third/community sector(s) for successful development of good practice relevant to a particular place (context).

Related resources

See all What Works Scotland’s publications and resources, blogs and activities related to community capacity-building