Formed in January 2013 by Robin Beveridge, Tony Mullin and David Gluck, who all have a background in working in different aspects of community regeneration, this CIC acts as a catalyst to help communities lead their regeneration.
Robin, Tony and David (who has since left) set up Your Back Yard out of a concern that disadvantaged communities were being hit harder and harder by austerity, so the level of need in those communities was increasing. At the same time, the level of VCSE and local authority support for those communities was reducing. They felt there would be opportunities on the horizon, such as Community Led Local Development and Big Lottery Fund post the 2012 London Olympics, to fund community led regeneration. Your Back Yard was set up not as a deliverer of such regeneration, but as a catalyst for it, so they do not (as yet at least) take on the management of large regeneration projects, but help people to come together, undertake research and engagement to help communities identify their needs, priorities and assets, and help with raising funding for those communities to take on such projects.
As they have found over the last three years, one of the hardest challenges is to find the money to pay for this work.
They chose the CIC structure because of its simplicity; it enables them to determine the direction of the organisation, while bringing in others as trustees to provide oversight and support. This ensures that all of their work focuses on benefiting communities and allows them to access grants from some charitable sources.
They feel they are really good at identifying needs and opportunities in communities and making projects happen. “Traditional community development workers will often say the process is more important than the outcome. We say the outcome is more important than the process. In all our work, we want people to be able to point to the difference that they have made.”
Their local successes include
- Creating the low Heaton Community Association in Newcastle, which is now a self-sustaining organisation which runs litter picks and community events.
- Setting up a community café in Shieldfield after the community identified they lacked places to meet.
What’s next for Your Back Yard?
- Helping communities with spatial planning – they have recently taken on an associate who’s a planner and, as a result, are getting more involved in helping communities at the build environment and neighbourhood planning process.
- Green back yard – getting more into environmental spaces because it’s an issue that many communities put high in their list of priorities. Currently they have a proposal for a project to help people to make money out of recycling and food preparation, which is going to public vote as part of the Greening Wingrove Innovation Fund.
If you want to be involved in growing Your Back Yard, they are looking for trustees with a legal and HR background – contact firstname.lastname@example.org.