Promoting ‘Sustainable Communities’ was one of the main recommendations of the After the Riots Forum held in London on 1 February 2012 in response to the UK riots of August 2011. The Forum identified lack of community vision, moral compromise, family breakdown, government inaction and dwindling opportunities for people, as contributory factors leading to the escalation of riots across the country.
In response, the Sustainable Communities Programme, a value-based national and international programme, was launched to mobilise urban and rural communities to take positive action to tackle critical issues. Currently, these issues include: building and strengthening community initiatives, empowering disadvantaged communities, tackling knife crime and serial offending, campaigning against human trafficking, helping young people to develop inter-personal skills, promoting peace and reconciliation in Somalia and healing trauma in Sri Lanka. Many involved in the programme are individuals who are confronting, mitigating, taking action and campaigning against profound and damaging injustices in society.
The tools employed by the Sustainable Communities Programme include one-to-one support and practical advice on community-based projects, awareness-raising and campaigning, event organisation, and research-based study.
A ‘Sustainable Community’ means: working together to meet the basic needs of the present population, without jeopardising the abilities of future generations to meet theirs. The concept of Sustainable Communities envelops the entire fabric of economic, social, political, and moral issues facing the UK.
Initiatives of Change and Sustainable Communities
Throughout the UK, seeds of hope are sown by individuals, groups and organisations engaged in initiatives of community co-operation.
Initiatives of Change focuses on the moral and spiritual dimension of sustainability working towards: uniting people in common action to make a positive difference in society, addressing institutional injustice and disregard, and enabling people to think beyond narrow confines.