Introduction to USE-IT!
The current political and financial climate of austerity and neglect raises some important questions for those of us who want to revive communities. How do we deliver real co-production? How can we unlock anchor institutions to realise their local economic and social potential? How do we encourage local entrepreneurship? How do we engage communities in their own future?
The USE-IT! project began with the aim of pioneering innovative approaches to inclusive urban development in West Birmingham and Smethwick to combat poverty in areas of persistent deprivation. After three years, we have delivered a successful inclusive growth project. In fact, we believe we have done more than this – we have a unique model for a new way of thinking and working.
A regeneration model that works
We have focussed on building resilience in communities and linking people with their local assets. At the heart of this approach has been the principle that the physical, financial and human assets of a place can be leveraged for local economic benefit and it is in identifying and developing bridging relationships amongst such assets and anchor institutions that USE-IT! has delivered lasting change.
The project is documented here according to our four distinct strands: Community Research; Skills Matching; Social Enterprise; Community Assets. We offer practical advice from our project experience in our Learn section. Our Library of documents and other project outputs will also prove useful.
The project was funded by Urban Innovative Actions (UIA), an initiative of the European Union.
Connecting macro-assets with micro assets.