CEO, Power to Change
We have shared our learning and experience widely, to influence others and to deliver maximum impact for community businesses and the communities they represent.
We now need to take a lesson from community businesses here at Power to Change. So, we are also committed to becoming a more resilient organisation. That means understanding our strengths, challenges and how best we can support community businesses into the future.
Where we’ve come from
We know the transformative effect that enterprising communities can have in their local areas. Since 2015, we’ve been backing, catalysing and growing community business in England. It’s grown to become an incredible movement of over 11,000 organisations, led by enterprising people, all trading for the benefit of their local area.
We are immensely proud of our role as funder, innovator and champion of community business through a diverse range of programmes and projects. We have also been a successful advocate and thought leader, influencing and campaigning government and the wider public sector.
I am particularly proud of the fact that, since 2015, Power to Change has leveraged an additional £210 million into the community business market, in the form of grants, community shares, crowdfunding, government funds, refinance debt and social investment.
Alongside this, we have used our experience and evidence base to inform the shape of relevant public funding initiatives, working with partners to make the case. A few examples:
- We worked with Government to introduce beneficial changes to the Community Ownership Fund.
- We also influenced the shape of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) to make it more accessible for community businesses.
- And we led a partnership with Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and local social economy leaders to form Kindred, an independent organisation providing repayable, interest-free money to community businesses and other socially-trading organisations in the Liverpool City Region area.
We have gained huge insight from working with and supporting community businesses, and our intention is always to be generous with this knowledge, sharing best practice, guides and insights and feeding insights into our policy development and advocacy work.
- With partners, we secured Labour Party backing for our call for a Community Right to Buy, a powerful new right that would help communities to take ownership of important local assets.
- And our #TakeBackTheHighStreet campaign and Community Improvement Districts pilot have informed Government’s plans for high street accelerator areas and high street regeneration policy.
Where we’re going
Our knowledge and experience of the impact and challenges facing community business, and the feedback that we have had from a range of stakeholders, have led us to conclude there is an ongoing need for our work. This is what we are now considering and working towards. We are committed to building on the progress that has been made for community business. This will mean evolving our organisation, focusing on where we will have the most impact. As we do this, we are listening to the views and perspectives of those we seek to support, and those we aim to influence, so that our future direction meets the needs of community businesses.
In the short term, we will be reviewing our activity and plans as we look to consider these in light of our longer-term ambitions. This will mean changes to how we work. Supporting and championing community businesses remains core to our purpose, advocating on their behalf to governments and the funding community, and leveraging in further investment. We are working to ensure we are ready and able to continue supporting communities, sharing our learning and policy recommendations, and delivering meaningful change.