We are targeting funding and resources towards places that look ripe for community business with the aim to boost local economies. We believe local people are the best people to shape services which will benefit the whole area. By harnessing the combined forces of all the players in an area, we believe that community businesses can start up, thrive and achieve positive change for their neighbourhoods, helping to reduce the inequalities felt by many communities across England.

In October 2016, we invited a selection of catalyst organisations in places across England that met our criteria to apply for a Learning Grant to develop a deeper understanding of how community business could address the needs of their communities and map local assets and opportunities that could enable new community businesses to develop.

We have now selected seven local organisations to help empower their places; each will receive up to £1 million in funding and support over a period of up to five years. Alongside delivery partners and community businesses these catalyst organisations will help to create more connected and inclusive communities and improve the lives of the people who live there. We also want to demonstrate that, given the right conditions and support, community business can flourish and transform places.

Which places will work in on our Empowering Places programme?

 

Empowering Places is one of three new funding programmes with up to £40million to support 15 regional places across England. These are a mixture of regions, cities and wards, some of which we are working in in partnership with Marks & Spencer. The full list of places can be found in our announcement here.

Bristol

Bristol is home to a growing number of successful community businesses, like Bristol Ferry Boats. It is a diverse city which, despite its prosperity is also home to some of the most deprived areas in England, with particular inequality across the city in terms of education, skills and training. Power to Change is already committed to supporting community-led housing in Bristol and will be looking for opportunities to invest in-depth in Bristol over the next five years to demonstrate the potential of community business.

 

Liverpool

One example of a place undergoing significant transformation due to community businesses is Liverpool; with success stories such as Granby Four Streets and SAFE Regeneration, we can see that local people have an appetite for change. Organisations like Alt Valley Trust are running local authority services such as libraries, schools and leisure centres as well as forging supply chains with other community businesses in the city.