Ideas, innovation and community-led regeneration
Through Crowdfund London, we are learning how many small projects, delivered by local people, can have a big impact across the city.
What are we trying to achieve?
Crowdfund London has been developed and delivered by the Regeneration team since 2014.
We want to see more Londoners help to improving our city. Everyone should have opportunities to contribute to making and remaking the place where they live by coming together to develop common spaces and shared resources. We know that community and civil society groups are full of great ideas and we want to help you deliver sustainable solutions to local challenges or opportunities that build local resilience.
We also know that almost 40 per cent of Londoners have some involvement in local community activity. Over half feel community groups should play an active part in local community projects with nearly 80 per cent suggesting that this role should go far beyond basic consultation.
Why Civic Crowdfunding?
Thanks to new technology, more people have the tools to directly shape their city like never before. From social media to crowdfunding platforms, we can now organise, design, fund and realise community projects more quickly and easily.
Civic crowdfunding is not a new idea. Many city improvements in the past have been funded following public campaigns – such as the base for the Statue of Liberty in the US – with the campaigns creating a wider public debate around the issue or idea.
People coming together to help to make something happen is often empowering and this sense of collective ownership can strengthen the impact of the end result. Done in the right way, the process can stress-test ideas and ensure that the wider community are in agreement. The mix of funders also bring different skills, experience and resource to get things done.
We don’t see civic crowdfunding as a replacement for strategic public investment and regeneration; but we believe it can make a positive contribution to embracing grass-roots voices and ideas in the process of natural change. This can provide a more responsive and dynamic way of match funding local projects and reducing the barriers traditionally associated with accessing grant funding for local initiatives.
Why should City Hall get involved?
This activity is happening anyway. Crowdfunding for business finance or products has grown substantially in recent years and we spotted the emerging application to city improvement. However, it's difficult to get things done in the built environment, from getting the right permissions to ensuring you have a plan and budget that can adapt to unforeseen complications often over many months. Is the idea the right one in the first place? Once you do something, it's hard to undo and you can't do anything else with that building or space, which might be a share asset. Then there's the campaign; just because you can successfully fundraise, doesn't mean you can deliver the project, or that it's representative of local needs.
By getting involved, City Hall can help with these issues to make sure good things can happen in the public interest. We want to help ensure that online platforms provide the right tool for all citizens to access public funds in a way that demonstrates social impact and local collaboration.
Our pledges to campaigns catalyse success and we can focus attention on projects that have genuine public and community interests at heart; often the less glamorous campaigns which might not receive the most natural attention.
As a result, we've been at the forefront of global debate in crowdfunding civic projects and regeneration, with one of the most ambitious public-sector led programmes of its type in the world.
What have we achieved so far?
The Mayor has pledged over £1.2m to 77 successful crowdfunding campaigns across the capital, run by people just like you. Nearly 9,000 backers have come together to raise an extra £1.6m in pledges towards these projects. Together, we’ve helped fund a range of community projects that have; revived historic markets, increased local access to training and skill development, brought underused spaces back to life and supported local economies with new social businesses, civic spaces and community resources that promote resilience.
95% of campaigns succeed after Mayoral backing, compared to a 47% average without a Mayoral pledge on the platform used. 96% of successful campaigns backed by the Mayor go on to deliver successful projects.
The impact of our experiment has been inspiring. These projects are helping people into work, improving health and wellbeing, breaking down cultural barriers, and bringing communities together around a common purpose. We are also seeing how the crowdfunding process is about more than just raising money. It’s about reaching out to the wider community, getting more people actively involved in their area, and building skills and knowledge through volunteering. This means the benefits go far beyond just the projects themselves.
The real legacy is the community groups that have been formed and strengthened through the process. Crucially, it’s what they’ll go on to do for their places in the future that makes Crowdfund London so worthwhile.
Crowdfund London is supported and funded by the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP). LEAP brings entrepreneurs and business together with the Mayoralty and London Councils to identify strategic actions to support and lead economic growth and job creation in the capital. For more information visit www.lep.london.