Save Birmingham is a new campaign to protect our community places. And we need your help to shape what we do – find out more about who we are and our initial plans.


Who are you?

We’re a new campaign, set up by Co-operatives West Midlands, the local representative body for the co-operative movement. Around one billion people are members of co-operatives and mutuals worldwide, and we work together to empower people to take positive action.

For this campaign, we’re bringing together a range of partner organisations to give residents the ability and resources to protect the community spaces and services they care about.

Our partners include national organisations that are experts in providing advice and support to communities, including Co-operatives UK, Plunkett Foundation, Locality and Power to Change. We also have local partners in the voluntary and community sectors such as Birmingham Community Matters, BVSC and the Birmingham Open Spaces Forum.  See our partners and supporters page for more.

What are your aims?

We want to protect community places in Birmingham – to avoid a ‘fire sale’ of council-owned spaces and services that leave residents and communities worse off. This follows Birmingham City Council effectively declaring bankruptcy in September 2023.

We’re still starting out, so we first want to raise awareness among residents and make connections with voluntary, community and co-operative organisations.

We then want to provide tools for residents to protect the spaces or services in their community that they care about. We hope this will either block or delay potential sales, so Birmingham City Council has to consider community-based solutions.

Longer term, we want to work with partners to explore and develop co-operative solutions for public spaces and services. This could include potential funding opportunities where residents want to take over the running of their community places.

This is all with the aim of developing positive and practical solutions for the problems facing Birmingham today and could be a showcase for other areas in the country.

For more details, see below.


How can I get involved?

For now, please sign up on our website so we can keep you updated.

  • If you’re a resident, our plan is to help residents identify community places that matter to you, and using that to help protect those assets by either preventing sales or helping them become community-owned.
  • If you’re a community or voluntary organisation, we need your help to spread the message and identify community places near you.

If you’re a specialist organisation that wants to partner with us, or provide funding, please email us on contact@savebirmingham.org – we want to work together to develop the very best solutions for Birmingham’s communities.


More details – what can you actually do?

Birmingham City Council effectively declared bankruptcy in early September 2023, and the UK government indicated it would appoint “commissioners” to take over the running of the council shortly afterwards. It’s currently unclear what that means in practice, but we are concerned that residents could be worse off if the commissioners consider selling off council-owned assets without considering community-based alternatives.

One way to do this is by designating a building, venue, park or other facility that is owned by the council as an “asset of community value”. This would give local residents a “right to buy” when the council considers selling the asset – delaying the sale by around six months. If the community raises enough funds and is successful, this could lead to residents take responsibility for owning and running the asset.

We’re working through the details, but we think this process would help to show the strength of feeling that local residents have about council-owned assets in their local community, either preventing a sale in the first place or leading to community ownership.

Longer term, we want to develop community and co-operative solutions for council-owned or run spaces and services, learning from good practice elsewhere in the country to ultimately make things better for Birmingham’s residents and communities.