Communities that stick together, change together

Around the world, grassroots community groups are coming together to tackle local issues and drive positive transformation from the ground up. These inspirational examples demonstrate the power of civic engagement, investment into community infrastructure, and collective organizing to create meaningful progress.

In Halliwell, UK, residents leveraged local community infrastructure to launch an “anti-litter week” campaign. Spurred by the newly created Halliwell Community Alliance, stakeholders across age groups and backgrounds banded together, from youth clubs to religious centers. The Alliance itself exemplifies targeted investment in community systems – set up to replace outdated Area Forums, groups like this better empower neighborhoods to address local needs.  

With this supportive infrastructure spurring participation, the Alliance organized clean-ups engaging over 300 volunteers. In just days, they collected huge amounts of litter while fostering civic pride. This successful initiative was born from the Alliance’s community roots, their ability to rally and connect local institutions through shared infrastructure.

Meanwhile in Southwark, London, another community system has enabled progress: the council’s Positive Futures Fund. Southwark demonstrated their commitment to community growth by investing £1 million towards local youth services and grassroots organizations. Groups like The Neurodiversity Family Hub will now broaden programming for young people with disabilities, offering new social and career development opportunities. Already, Southwark’s Fund has resourced 3,800 youth work sessions since 2022.

Investments like these fuel on-the-ground groups to drive change. The Neurodiversity Family Hub leverages resources flowing from the council’s infrastructure to uplift their community. With long-term funding and supportive government allies, the Hub can focus fully on expanding opportunities for an overlooked population. 

And in Preston, engaged residents are tackling sustainability issues through collective organizing.A grassroots People’s Climate Jury was formed to study regional environmental impacts. Driven by passionate locals, over 93 citizens were selected to represent Preston’s demographic diversity. For 6 weeks they will meet to review climate data and provide recommendations, channeling community voices to shape policy.

Community action is also making waves across the UK clean energy landscape. Organizations like Wight Community Energy, owned by Isle of Wight residents, are accelerating the transition to renewables while funding local green initiatives. After establishing the Isle of Wight’s first community solar farm in 2015, Wight Community Energy offered community shares to collectively purchase the project. Surplus revenues since then have already backed sustainability focused charities and electric vehicle efforts locally. 

Now by joining a wider collaboration called Community Energy Together, Wight Community Energy aims to double down on its mission – directing £2.5 million overall to community causes. This growing movement models how grassroots clean energy projects can uplift regions economically and environmentally when community driven.

From litter clean-ups to disability advocacy to emissions mitigation, these groups demonstrate the power of galvanized communities. By investing in systems that support neighborhoods, and organizing collectively around shared challenges, progress can flourish from grassroots engagement. Big issues require big, cooperative solutions. When resources flow, participation broadens and residents join together around common causes, the possibilities are endless. The path forward is clear – progress takes roots through communities.

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