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Managing Land Through Social Enterprise

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Becka Hudson

on 14 August 2014

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Transcript of Managing Land Through Social Enterprise

Managing Land Through Social and Community Enterprise
What is happening in the UK?
What do you mean?
'Social and Community Enterprises That Manage Land' Means....

- Non-state organisations or groups

- Generating some income through trade

- With a primary social or environmental purpose into which any profit is re-invested

- Working on, with and for 'environmental assets'- things like parks, canals, woodlands or coastal areas.

- Community enterprises often have community control in their governance


Some public, private and charitable landowners are looking for
new approaches
to managing their land.

Austerity and budget cuts
are adding urgency to the need for new approaches, especially for local authorities.

localism agenda
is helping to provide legitimacy and a framework for these developments, but funding remains scarce.

Staff changes
limited funding
and a
lack of formal stuctures and processes
designed for social enterprises serve as barriers to implementing new practices.

There is a
growing number
of diverse groups across the UK undertaking, or looking to start, social or community enterprise management of land.

Most groups are
, many are
, having been set up in the last ten years, and the vast majority rely on at least
partial grant funding

These groups are often
, but may have ambitions to take their projects to national scale.
National Charities
Public or Quasi Public Agencies
Private Landowners
The land that these enterprises operate on may come from many sources.
Local authorities own two thirds of publicly owned land in the UK, including parks.

Especially with
ongoing budget cuts
, many local authorities are open to new management arrangements.

National government, through bodies such as the Ministry of Defence and National Health Service, also owns
substantial amounts of land,
to requirements.


Chiltern Rangers CIC, managing woodland owned by Wycombe District Council:
National and Local Government
Many national charities, such as the National Trust, Canal and River Trust or Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, own
large amounts of land

These charities often have
public engagement
aims, and may be obliged to care for land with
complex or restrictive management obligatons
, such as nature reserves.

Broadclyst Community Farm, running a productive community fruit and vegetable farm on National Trust Land:
Arms of government and departmental bodies often have responsibility for land. Management obligations may be

Neroche Woodlanders, managing a woodland in Somerset that is owned by the Crown Estate and leased by the Forestry Commission
may be open to social enterprise taking place on their land, managing their assets
in partnership
with local people.

such as utility companies, may have lots of land that is
to their core business.

Supporting social or community enterprises to manage this land can
maxmise an asset's value,
corporate social responsibility
efforts, or contribute to
environmental and sustainability objectives

East Resevoir Community Garden, managing land owned by Thames Water to enhance biodiversity, educate children and build a community garden.
There are
three broad categories
of activities that land based social enteprises may undertake. In truth, most organisations will undertake a
mix of all three
, and many defy easy categorisation.
Parks and Amenity Spaces

- National parks
- Local parks
- Heritage parks
- 'Meanwhile use' spaces
Socially and Culturally Productive Spaces

- Educational activities
- Health activities
- Recreactional activities
- Arts and cultural activities
Economically Productive Spaces

- Community food and farming
- Livelihood-based projects
- Woodland management
- Community renewable energy
There are
four broad categories
of organisation type and function, though there is
movement between
these categories, and organisations may
change over time
and in response to circumstances.
These groups
make decisions about the future of a space,
strategically influencing it. They may employ or contract others to carry out day to day management.
Will have a board of trustees and are often companies limited by guarantee with charitable status.

Trustees are volunteers, and may be drawn from the local community.
Traditional commons may have a board of Conservators.

These boards may be elected by local people, although they are often appointed by the local authority.

Verderers were part of the traditional governance of English forests, set up after the Norman Conquest.

Today, verderers still exist in the New Forest, Epping Forest and the Forest of Dean.

They are elected from amongst the commoners and govern the use of common land and management of animals in the forest.
Parks and open spaces often have 'Friends Of' groups that get involved in decisions about the future of the space.

They have widely ranging levels of responsibility.
Management involves the
day to day
work needed to maitain a space.

Parks Trusts often employ staff to carry out the day to day management of a green space.

The staff may work closely with volunteers.
Environmental and conservation groups, including 'friends of' groups, often get involved with maintaining parks and open spaces.

Groups of volunteers often act on the instructions of a ranger or manager.

: http://www.groundwork.org.uk
Many social enterprises, often employing people otherwise disadvantaged in the labour market, have grounds and green space operations.

: Berinsfield Community Business- http://www.bcomb.co.uk
Sustaining Livelihoods
Some organisations are focussed on
creating sustainable livelihoods
for their members.
Commoners are able to
exercise rights on common land
(grazing livestock, fishing, wood collection etc.) to support their needs.

Management of common land must
take into account the needs
of the landowner, commoners and the local community.

Commons councils are statutory bodies who can
vote on the management of commons land
, establishing legally binding rules.

Crofts are
small plots of agricultural land
that are rented and occupied, or sometimes owner-occupied, by 'crofters', people who manage the land.

Crofters typically produce lamb, beef, vegetables and fruit, which they
sell to bolster other forms of income
. Crofts rarely support whole families or provide full-time employment, but do
supplement livelihoods..


Land based workers' co-operatives are organisations whose
worker-owners participate in managing and governing land
, vote on the co-op's development and often deliver on social and environmental goals.

Workers' co-operatives are a traditional model that are
experiencing a revival.
The democracy integrated into co-ops is seen by many as a feature that can help solve contemporary problems in business, environmental management and sustainable livelihoods.

A business model introduced by the UK government in 2005, CICs are limited companies who
exist to serve a primary social purpose
. All profits from CICs' work are to be reinvested into their purpose or the local community.

CICs are designed to have the
flexibility of private companies
whilst maintaining the
social value of charities
or social projects. Their emergence is part of a growing 'social enterprise' agenda, designed to lock positive outcomes into business and livelihoods.

Many groups are tackling
political, social and environmental injustices
with direct action projects.
Guerilla gardeners
plant and cultivate
food, flowers and other plants in public space, often
without permission
from the owners of the land on which they plant.

The movement has
expanded across the country
through online networks. There are incidents where local charities, councils and businesses have
supported and partnered
with guerilla gardeners.

These activists use their
work to address a number of concerns:
about the industrial food system, poor water drainage , declines in urban wildlife, depression of UK high streets and other public spaces and the lack of greenery in urban areas.

Activist groups have used squatting, and political occupation, as a means of
protest and direct action
to highlight issues around environmental degradation, land ownership and management in the UK.

These projects not only serve as symbolic gestures around land ownership,
but often serve as examples of sustainable and community-focussed living.

Squats may house projects ranging from food growing to energy generation, housing provision, community cultural events, education and political organising space.

: http://www.transitionheathrow.com

Many of those involved in managing land are
joining networks
to campaign and effect
wider political and cultural changes
that support their work.

Recognising policies, cultural patterns and industrial processes that are
obstructing the advancement of their goals,
these campaigns are bringing diverse landworkers together to pressure for meaningful change.

Campaigns are wide ranging ,focussing on anything from policy, to workplace organising, supply chain development or education and
may take many forms
including land occupations, petitions, protests or art events.

Full transcript