Inspiring social action in neighbourhoods across England

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A ‘can do’ approach to community action: what role for risk, trust and confidence?

Report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation examines the impact of concerns about risk on people working to create change in their communities. It is based on research carried out in four very different neighbourhoods in Yorkshire. There is evidence in the UK that individual behaviour is shaped by concerns about risk and litigation. This research examines how these concerns affect people working together to create change in their communities, and how support organisations’ approach to risk can affect community activism. The report:

  • outlines the challenges faced at different stages of activists’ journeys;
  • reveals that fears about liability did not deter people from volunteering,but some activists had concerns about public visibility and risk to reputation; shows how concerns about risk, health and safety and bureaucracy shaped activists’ decisions
  • highlights strategies developed by activists to address risk;
  • identifies how organisations can support activists to manage risks positively rather than discard ideas.

For practical online resources for community groups visit the Can do guide.

Cabinet Office DCMS DCLG Big Potential Power to Change