A Government push to hand more power to local areas has now reached 250 communities across England.
Launched in February, the Community Rights programme is helping local projects tackle everything from unemployment to health issues.
Some 50 communities are taking part in the £1m Community Economic Development initiative run by Co-operatives UK, New Economics Foundation, Community Development Finance Association and Locality. It is designed to support grassroots efforts to develop the local economy, including piloting youth markets to give young entrepreneurs practical experience.
The Our Place and First Steps programme, backed with £3m and run by Locality, the Community Development Foundation and others, is helping 64 areas to transform services at a neighbourhood level.
Examples include the Shiney Advice and Resource Project (ShARP) in Houghton Le Spring, Tyne and Wear which is developing an ‘advice on prescription’ service that aims to reduce the number of GP appointments for non-clinical issues.
Communities minister Marcus Jones said: ‘There is a growing movement of people up and down the country who are taking advantage of our Community Rights support programmes.
‘Local people know what’s already great about the places they live in and how to make them even better, whether that’s through taking control of the local community centre, redesigning services for older people or helping young people into employment.
‘Our support programmes will help them to harness their skills and knowledge to tackle a wide range of issues that are important to them and make their areas even better places to live and work.’