Hometown Foundation Website – About Us

The Hometown Foundation is a Scottish registered charity, number SC040228, which has been formed to enable community development based on co-operative principles.  The Foundation’s key aim is to enable local communities to become stronger by having much greater control over the things which are most important to them.

To achieve this, the Foundation will provide the means to transfer ownership and power from the state to local communities focussed on providing the best possible outcomes in their own areas.

The Hometown Foundation’s first project is Owenstown, a new town in South Lanarkshire, which will provide eight thousand new homes alongside eight thousand new jobs.  The town will be wholly owned and controlled by its residents via the Owenstown Cooperative Society.  Similar projects are presently under consideration in a number of urban areas.


The activities of the Hometown Foundation are directed and regulated by its Board of Trustees.  Current trustees are Arthur Bell CBE, Robert Durward, John Lockhart.

Arthur J A Bell CBE (Hon)FIDM FRSA BSc founded his first company, Scotland Direct, in Robert Owen’s New Lanark in 1973. He created such diverse businesses as Scottish Gourmet, Whisky Connoisseur, and The Thimble Guild. Twenty-one years Chair of New Lanark Housing Association and  is also Chairman of New Lanark (Conservation) Trust. Currently he’s also Chair of three other charitable bodies – The Food Trust of Scotland, Biggar Civic Society, and Scottish Wheelchair Curling Association.  Arthur has long believed business was not just about ‘taking out’ but also about ‘giving back’. The Hometown Foundation is a fine example of such giving back, and can only bring benefits to both areas and people that our grab-all society has left behind. It is forward looking in the spirit of Robert Owen, and has the opportunity to make a ‘real difference’ where it is needed most.

Robert Durward, is a long term entrepreneur having started his first business in 1968. He is a firm believer that people of his generation are duty bound to put something back for those who follow.  His conviction that towns need workplaces to function properly results from the fact that he was raised in the Ayrshire lace town of Darvel which was once a thriving community with numerous factories and an international reputation.

John Lockhart, BA(Econ)(Hons), Ph.D. is a public policy consultant working with the voluntary and community sector.  He has worked with a wide range of groups in a training and research capacity and has lectured in higher education.  He currently runs Policyworks, a public policy information network.  Having a long-standing interest in community development, he sees the potential for new towns to be driven by community values rather than the old urban planning models.

Stuart Crawford was born and brought up in Glasgow. After university he spent 20 years as an army officer in the Royal Tank Regiment, including service in the First Gulf War. He left the army in 1999 in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and started his own public affairs firm, Stuart Crawford Associates, based in Edinburgh.

Stuart is also a writer and journalist, and contributes regularly to the print and broadcast media in the UK and further afield. He a former Director and Trustee of the charities Community Integrated Care and Action on Depression, and current Trustee of the Hometown Foundation which he considers to be a unique and ground breaking initiative. Helping communities help themselves reach their social, economic, and cultural potential is something he believes is of fundamental importance, and the Hometown Foundation is the ideal vehicle to achieve this.

Bill Nicol Project Director Hometown Foundation, Owenstown

Bill Nicol BA (Hons) Town and Country Planning, MRTPI, DiP (LE), DiP (BA). Bill was born and brought up in South Lanarkshire. After graduating from Glasgow School of Art in 1984 Bill worked for two Local Authorities, two Local Enterprise Companies, an Economic Development Partnership, two public/private joint venture partnerships and Scottish Enterprise National as Head of Property and Director of the National Waterfront project. Prior to starting work with the Hometown Foundation, Bill was Chief Executive of a pathfinder Urban Regeneration Company.

With great passion, Bill has spent his career working with individuals and communities to help them become more resilient. Bill is also a Trustee of Workshop and Artists’ Studio Provision Scotland Ltd and an Ambassador for Ocean Youth Trust Scotland. Bill was formerly an ambassador for the Princes Scottish Youth Business Trust.