7. Social sustainability
All the elements of sustainability (social, economic and environmental) are equally important to the long-term success of a project, but social sustainability is perhaps the hardest to generate. This section considers the mechanisms by which social sustainability can be encouraged and the issues that these mechanisms cover. This includes:
Group involvement: An important part of community development is to help community groups and individuals involved with the project develop skills so they benefit from involvement in the project and possibly help look after the project in the long term.
Maintaining the project profile: One way of maintaining the community engagement with a site is to set up groups within the local community for those that wish to look after and use the site in the future. This means the creation and support of such groups.
Maintaining involvement: Often community involvement in a site can tail off after the initial project phase. To ensure the longevity and success of the project, involvement needs to maintained by keeping friends and user groups going and involved in the management of the site.
Safeguarding the site: In order for the benefits of a site dedicated to the local community to be maintained, the site needs to be protected either by ownership by the local community or by putting a deed of dedication or long-term leasehold in place.
Monitoring and indicators: To assess the progress of the project and the impact of it after the initial development process is completed a level of monitoring needs to be put in place. One way of doing this is to establish indicators that can be tracked to observe changes in the local community over time in terms of skills and quality of life.
Keeping group involvement is crucial to the long term success of any community project.
The on-going visibility and profile of the project will be crucial to its success.
The key to a projects sustainability is keeping the community involved.
The practical and legal safety of a site and project is essential to ensuring long term sustainability.
Ensuring the projects sustainability through defined indicators and monitoring.
This information is intended as a guide and, while it is as accurate and up to date as we can make it, it should not be used in place of specialist legal, financial or commercial advice.