We are keen to explore opportunities to help communities become more empowered through community self-help, volunteering and local solutions.
We want people to have more influence, choice and control over the way local needs are met, to help communities develop and grow. If you, or the organisation you represent, have an idea or proposal that you would like to discuss, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest – include your contact details with a brief description of your interest or proposal.
The Localism Act was introduced in November 2011. The aim of the act was to devolve more decision-making powers from central government back into the hands of individuals, communities and councils. There is more information in the Department for Communities plain English guide to the Localism Act.
Under the Sustainable Communities Act parish and town councils now have the power to send proposals to central government asking to remove legislative or other barriers that prevent them from improving the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of their area.
More information about other national initiatives and how you can get involved in your Community.
Just Act also provides information for anyone interested in setting up a community project.
To find out about events happening in your area, you can use the website Visit Somerset.
The Somerset Intelligence website provides data, intelligence and insight on Somerset and its varied communities which you may find of interest when compiling evidence for bids or Neighbourhood Plans.
Somerset’s SEND Local Offer provides information for children, young people and families including Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.
Community Connect helps adults across Somerset access care and support in the county. The website guides people through self-help forms, provides easy access to information and a directory of services, products, groups and events in their local area.
Somerset Children and Young People Health and Wellbeing website provides a range of resources. This includes a Mental Health Toolkit to support schools, colleges, and other professionals working with children and young people in Somerset to improve their health and wellbeing.
Lifehacks are a series of web-based practical tips and ideas, developed by young people, to help promote and support young people to look after their own, and their friends’ mental health.
If you have a neighbour or a friend willing to visit the library for you, they can register as a ‘good neighbour’ and arrange to choose and collect your books for you. If you would like more information about the Home Library Service or to find out how you can become a ‘Good Neighbour’ please contact your local Library. Find out more about the Library Service.
Books on Prescription is a scheme in partnership with Somerset Libraries. These mental health collections are aimed at adults and teenagers.
By building on existing local relationships and networks, using local knowledge and preparing for risks, your community will be better able to cope with an emergency. There is more information to help communities on the Somerset Prepared website.
To help residents spot scams and doorstep crime, Devon and Somerset Trading Standards have produced a short training session outlining what local communities can do to help. If you need consumer advice, wish to make a complaint about a trader or report a matter to Trading Standards then phone the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06 or find out more at www.adviceguide.org.uk.
Travel and roads
It’s easy to report issues on Somerset’s roads online. ‘Report It’ allows users to report any issues across all 4,206 miles of Somerset’s highways – from potholes and blocked drains to overgrown hedges or traffic light faults.
Local Plans are documents that will guide how and where development takes place in Somerset. They form the development plan for each area, together with the Neighbourhood Plans which are prepared by parish or town councils or Neighbourhood Forums.
For more information about Neighbourhood Planning and Community Rights visit the My Community website.
Small Improvement Schemes
A maximum of two small improvement schemes can be put forward for consideration each year. For more information and for details of plans currently approaching construction please visit our Small Improvement Schemes page.
Sharing personal information (data) with Somerset Council
Community projects (often those involved in aspects of social care) who want to share personal data with this Council, will need to ensure that this is done in a way that complies with the Data Protection Act (1998) GDPR (2018), and with the appropriate consent of the people they hold data about.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) gives the best guidance on all aspects of sharing information legally. The ICO is a non-departmental public body which reports directly to parliament and is sponsored by the Ministry of Justice – see ico.org.uk.
Specific queries about data protection
The ICO also has a helpline 0303 123 1113 – charged at a local rate – or 01625 545 745 if you prefer to use a national rate number.
Community Asset Transfer
The Policy for Community Asset Transfer sets out the criteria, principles and process for when the Council considers the transfer of land, buildings or assets into the ownership or management of a Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisation or social enterprise.
More information about the policy and about how to express an interest in council assets.