#CATJRF: An open discussion on community asset transfer…

As promised last week, today marks the beginning of a discussion (debate is probably too grand a term for what we have in mind) of Community Asset Transfer… If you are confused as to what that means, it refers to the transfer of title or services from some form of statutory ownership or management to a community organisation.

It is associated by some with the current UK government’s push to try and bring community players into action as part of the Big Society, but in Northern Ireland local communities have been developing their own assets for much of the last forty years, often through a shared sense of marginalisation and a ground up call to action.

The purpose is to create a more meaningful context for a piece of Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) funded research which has been conducted by Queens University, which is looking in some detail at how asset transfer is currently working in Northern Ireland.

We’ll begin with a number of pieces we’ve pre-commissioned along with some interviews I was able to record (Kodak roughly) on the ground last week. But our aim is to keep the discussion as open at the top of the blog as it is in the comment zone.

To that end, we’re hoping to bring as many different voices and angles on the issue as we can manage. For instance we’ll have some perspectives from England and Scotland and I’m hoping to source material on asset transfer from further afield in France and Portugal.

One focal point will come on Thursday, when we’ll have a live blog from a seminar (there’s space for a small number of bloggers/tweeters who may want to join us for that). To get reminder for the live blog, sign up here:

We’re also hoping to have some political input towards the end of the fortnight, but we’re really keep to let people who are involved in asset transfer and those who are critical of it to have their say first.

So it’s an experiment. The plan is to let it grow organically, with later contributors being free to take up, develop or challenge points made by earlier posters. The rest of the blog will continue on its usual business, but you will be follow all contributions to the community asset transfer discussion here.

So remember, you can participate in three ways:

  • submitting a blog essay to me (editor@sluggerotoole.com) with a word limit of between 400 and 600 words;
  • contributing to our live blog on Thursday 23rd from the project seminar at Queens;
  • flagging articles or projects either here on Slugger or on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus and tagging, where appropriate with #CATJRF (so we can find it).
We’re also developing a relevant list on Twitter, which you may like to follow…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty