Marks & Spencer and Power to Change announce partnership to help transform local communities

The new partnership will provide up to £1million to community businesses, and will give community businesses access to skills and mentoring from M&S.

Marks & Spencer today launches Plan A 2025, its new ambitious, customer focused sustainability plan which includes a new partnership with Power to Change.

Power to Change will be one of M&S’ partners for one of the plan’s key commitments: a new 10 community pilot that will see M&S work with local councils and charity partners to support communities to deliver positive, measurable change.

Power to Change will work with M&S specifically to identify needs in different parts of the country, support the growth of community business, and drive local economic change.

This will be achieved through funding and access to skills and mentoring from M&S staff, who will provide community businesses with access to much-needed business skills in retail, customer research, marketing, finance, and supply chains.

Power to Change will work with M&S in 7 pilot locations:

Birmingham (focusing on Handsworth and Handsworth Wood) Norwich
Liverpool (focusing on Toxteth and Dingle) Middlesbrough
Rochdale Newham
Bradford

 

Community businesses are organisations rooted in a local area, run by and answerable to members of the community, and which make a trading profit to re-invest in doing more social good. There are already thousands of community businesses in the UK, doing everything from planning new affordable homes to reviving struggling local pubs. Last year, they grew 5 percent, faster than both charities and small businesses.

This new investment will complement £3million already spent in these places by Power to Change, money which has helped new community businesses get off the ground and supported the work of existing, thriving local groups.

Vidhya Alakeson, Chief Executive of Power to Change, said:

We are extremely proud to team up with M&S and invest in making communities even stronger and more resilient. 

This is about realising that we can all achieve much more by working together. None of us have all the answers on our own. The social sector and the private sector can come together with local people to help them change the places where they live.

Community businesses are already helping local people and local economies all over the country, and we look forward to joining forces with M&S to support the movement even more’.

Phil Knibb, who runs the community business Alt Valley in one of the most disadvantaged communities in north Liverpool, said:

Alt Valley Community Trust and the Neighbourhood Services Company have come together to work with key partners in giving local communities a voice in their area.

Over the past 18 years, we have designed and developed innovative community responses in the crucial areas of education, employment and training. We have been instrumental in avoiding cuts in key community services, from libraries to sports centres, shopping facilities to community centres’.