A new report by Locality has shown that community-led regeneration is the key to tackling the long-term issues facing England’s coastal communities.  

It is well documented that coastal communities face disproportionately high levels of poor health, insecure employment and joblessness, and social deprivation. These places have also been some of the hardest hit by the economic impacts of lockdown.  

Successive government policy and funding initiatives have failed to reverse this story. However, a new Locality report has shown that community organisations across England have been busy transforming their communities.  

Two Coastal Communities Being Transformed

Amble Development Trust in Northumberland have helped put local jobs and skills at the heart of the town’s sustainable tourism model. This includes a community-owned lobster hatchery which both helps sustain the local lobster population and provide local jobs and training in a skilled industry.  

In Hastings, East Sussex, the community sector is giving residents a stake in the regeneration of their seaside resort town. This includes the Hastings Commons, formerly derelict buildings that have been renovated by the community and now provide affordable housing, retail and workspace.  

These organisations have proven that the key to sustainable change is to put power and resources in the hands of people and groups that are embedded in their communities, and truly understand their needs and strengths. 

Community organisations are harnessing the strengths, hope and creativity in coastal places to quietly transform their streets and towns. From renovating derelict buildings to provide local affordable housing in Hastings, to a community-owned lobster hatchery in Northumberland supporting skilled jobs and training in the fisheries industry, community organisations are leading the way in regenerating seaside towns,” Tony Armstrong, Locality’s Chief Executive explains. 

“Many coastal communities have faced significant challenges around social and economic decline for many years. Successive governments have tried and failed to shift these trends through top-down initiatives. But our new research shows that to achieve sustainable change requires putting power and resources in the hands of those who truly understand the issues – local communities themselves.” 

Locality supports local community organisations to be strong and successful by offering specialist advice, peer learning and campaign with members for a fairer society. Their national network of 1,300 members helps hundreds of thousands of people every week. Find out more here.

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Nisha Kotecha is the Founder of Good News Shared. Having worked and volunteered for charities in the UK for over 10 years, Nisha is on a mission to highlight how amazing charities are.

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