Research Reports

  • Reviving County Farms
    Dec 2019 | CPRE, the countryside charity

    We worked alongside CPRE, the countryside charity, the New Economics Foundation, and Who Owns England? to produce this report on the declining state of county farms – farms owned by local authorities meant to help new people into farming – in England, and suggest how they can be revitalised to increase the amount of land used for the common good, by helping deliver a diverse, thriving and ecologically abundant farming system. 

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  • Common Good Land Use in England – State of the Sector Report 2019
    Nov 2019 | Power to Change

    We were funded by Power to Change to find out more about people in England using land for social and environmental benefits (who we call ‘common good land users’), particularly focusing on the activities of such groups, their networks, the barriers they are facing, and the support they require to succeed. From this research, we produced a detailed report giving a snapshot of the sector in 2019, and four ‘quick guides’ aimed at various audiences interested in learning more about common good land use – potential common good land users, current common good land users, landowners, and funders and policy makers.

    You can see the research report here, and the ‘quick guides’ to common good land use here.

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  • Activate! Land in the hands of Communities
    Mar 2019 | Local Trust

    We were commissioned by Local Trust, and spent three months investigating community ownership and management of assets in Big Local areas, this report shares the learning from this, setting it in the wider context, and giving recommendations on how funders and policy-makers can better support the movement.

    Download it for free here.

    Read a summary here.

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  • Tenure in the MLWW Cohort
    May 2019 | Making Local Woods Work

    This report, for the Making Local Woods Work programme, looks at the tenurial arrangements across the cohort of woodland social enterprises (WSEs) involved in the Making Local Woods Work programme. It examines the different “bundles” of rights that different types of WSE hold, and draws some initial conclusions about how best to support WSEs. Shared Assets collaborated with Wild Resources Ltd to produce this work.

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  • Literature Review: Guidance on Assets & Ownership for Woodland Social Enterprises
    May 2019 | Making Local Woods Work

    This short report offers a brief review of the policy, tools and guidance on available for woodland social enterprises considering different options for the ownership of woodlands. It covers England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and was funded by the Making Local Woods Work Programme. It is accompanied by this open-access spreadsheet which details all the resources we found – we’d welcome additions!

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  • Tenure Models in Community Ownership
    Jan 2019

    This spectrum, created by Kate Swade, reflects the diverse nature of agreements of tenure than communities can consider when working towards taking on land or an asset and what might be appropriate for different uses. In some cases, there may also be a ‘journey’ with a lease leading to more responsibility and eventually, ownership as trust and track record are built. This can be useful for the community in question as well, as business models are tested and resource built to back the maintenance overheads required by ownership. Consideration should be made by the local authority of how much freedom and security are necessary to enable any investment needed and support innovation growth.

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  • Woodland Social Enterprises and The UK Planning System
    Aug 2017 | Making Local Woods Work

    This report explores the impact of the planning system on UK woodland social enterprises. It summarises the key parts of the planning system in all 4 UK countries, and outlines some of the main challenges that WSEs have with the system.  It was commissioned by the Making Local Woods Work programme, and complements nicely with our previous report on Planning for Common Good Land Use, but takes a deep dive into the often complex world of planning and forestry.  It consists of three main elements:


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  • Planning for the Common Good: Adapting the planning system for common good land use
    Jan 2017

    This report outlines how the planning system could support land-based social enterprises to use land for the common good.

    Planning should support land-based enterprises to contribute towards sustainable development. These organisations can create jobs, produce the things people need, and improve landscapes and natural capital. Currently, there are not enough ways that the planning system and common good land users in the UK can achieve this. This report is an attempt to show how this can change. [Read the full report here]

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  • Training for Common Good Land Use: Putting training delivery at the heart of land-based social enterprise
    Jan 2017

    This report addresses the opportunity of having land-based social enterprises deliver, host and facilitate training schemes as a core part of their business model.

    Good, accessible and comprehensive training is crucial to the land-based sector, where many different skills are needed. We think land-based social enterprises are extremely well placed to deliver these activities. Accordingly, we think there is a lot of scope for expanding the training they offer and the income they can generate from it. This report outlines the current training being offered in the land-based sector, and identifies barriers to developing this capacity, and possible solutions. [Read the full report here]

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  • Learning about Land: Skills, training and employment for land-based social enterprises
    Jan 2016

    This report addresses the skills deficit in the land-based sector, and how access to suitable training and clear career pathways could help to alleviate this deficit.

    Making land work requires many skills. Accordingly, access to good, comprehensive training schemes is crucial to developing a land-based sector that works for everyone. This report provides an overview of the skills needed to work in or lead a land-based social enterprise, how people commonly go about gaining and developing those skills, and the problems and solutions that emerge from this. [Read the full report here]

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