By Tony Kennedy
We need to commit to building a society where power and wealth are shared and we need a plan to achieve this, so the Taskforce will pull together the people, ideas and resources to build a people-powered sharing economy for every community in our region.
There is an unprecedented crisis in our public services and in people's relationship with government, with industry and with each other; on the other side of this pandemic we need a better way of doing things and relating to each other, that is why we need to draw together our ideas and capabilities to build a better West Midlands, where everyone is valued and can make their unique contribution.
Community values are those communal, collective and collaborative values and structures which help people co-operate based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.
In this pandemic we are seeing people help each other in ways rarely witnessed since the second World War, now we must help renew our ways of doing everything: 'Neighbourly Neighbourhoods' should be nurtured in every city, town and locality and community assets, built over generations, should be re-purposed to serve our future.
We need democratic ownership of the services and utilities we all rely on; tackling the housing crisis through public and co-operative housing; fans having a say in their sports clubs; Credit Unions as an alternative to rip-off payday lenders; shops owned by their customers that give back to the community and industries that pay fair, sustainable wages.
There is a large Social Economy which needs to grow radically by firstly, 'Keeping It Local 'At a time of rising demand for services with local government continuing to shoulder the heaviest burden of austerity, councils are forging a different path – one which harnesses the power lying latent in their communities. There are three big reasons to Keep it Local:
For better services that transform lives: community organisations provide a holistic person-centred approach.
To reduce pressure on the public sector: this holistic approach can reduce pressure on the public sector, through its preventative and early intervention function.
To invest and reinvest in the local economy: working with local community organisations creates local economic multipliers.