Grassroots strategy

Grassroots strategy

Welcome to Plymouth's strategy that will help transform Plymouth into a fairer and greener city.

Work in progress. Information is being added and changed regularly.

The role for this strategy is in the context of grassroots, community group activity. It starts here and works outwards from this context. It reaches deeper into community to the resident and citizen context, and wider into the context of public service delivery and business development and support.

Plymouth Octopus (POP) convenes, curate and cares for this strategy, but many contribute to achieving it. It is a strategy for the city, not just for Plymouth Octopus.

The grassroots

The grassroots are small, democratic groups run by ordinary people. They glue local communities together through collaboration and forming networks. They have diverse styles and set their own goals. The grassroots know their people and patch inside out and make a difference with activities that meet people where they are. POP defines grassroots as under £100,000 turnover.

The number of community organisations and groups is very difficult to accurately assess because no register of these organisations exists. Instead, we have to rely on a study carried out in the early nineties by Konrad Elsdon (reference) and our own data We know, through Konrad Elsdon’s survey of local voluntary organisations, that there might be as many as 1,300,000 organisations with 12 million participants in England, roughly 20 organisations for every 1,000 citizens. A calculation based on Plymouth’s population, would suggest 5,200 organisations with 48,000 participants.

Most recently, a report released in September 2021 commissioned by a consortium including West Yorkshire Combined Authority, West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership (WY&H HCP), the Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership, Yorkshire Sport Foundation, and Community First Yorkshire, found that the VCSE sector in West Yorkshire included around 14,900 registered and unregistered groups employing approximately  29,700 full-time equivalent posts, with an estimated 121,000 regular volunteers reference. We think these grassroots organisations have the following characteristics:

  • They are less likely to ‘other' – the helped are often also the helper.
  • They can be seeds of a bigger movement.
  • From Elsdon’s study, learning plays a keen role in the motivation to be involved.

The central principles of this strategy are:

1. Building and strengthening trust and relationships 2. Collaborating with others  3. Being innovative 4. Striving to learn – and encourage learning – through our actions.

The areas for action are:

Strategy areas

Gallery view


Gallery view


You can see The POP family involved in the work.

This website will grow, change and adapt as time goes on.