The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has committed £5.5m to the city region’s social economy over the next three years, alongside a further £1m from Power to Change.
Kindred is designed to grow the impact of socially-trading organisations (STOs)* across the city region. Its launch was fast-tracked due to the Covid-19 pandemic to provide support to the social economy throughout lockdown, and is now entering a new phase, preparing businesses in this vital sector for investment with new kinds of money and support.
The Kindred team is currently working with around 200 STOs, helping them secure buildings, make contacts, develop their business models and get investment-ready. The sector covers a variety of organisations and ideas, for instance:
- Merseyside Somali and Community Association has been feeding and supporting residents throughout lockdown, providing door-to-door support for vulnerable residents, and is now branching out into its own taxi business.
- St Helens-based Café Laziz has started a cafe run by refugees, to help them develop their employability skills whilst providing a community cafe, serving Arabic food to local residents. The food has proved so popular that they took jacket potatoes off the menu, because customers were choosing Arabic dishes instead.
- In Runcorn, Sew Halton has moved from community sewing classes to providing online sessions during lockdown, and is now prototyping environmentally sustainable period pants, which will create a new manufacturing facility in the borough.
- On Wirral, Grow Wellbeing is using outdoors space to promote wellbeing and run Forest Schools for local children.
Kindred’s model for investment in the social economy has been developed by and with over 150 socially-trading businesses, aiming to provide the kind of support that STOs have told us will enable them to grow.
This week, the Kindred team is bringing its expertise to the city region’s Good Business Festival, a unique event, commissioned by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, to explore the power of business to bring positive change. The team will take part on panels in a number of The Good Business Festival events, including the sessions titled “WTF is happening?”, Solutions Salon and The Good Conversation.
Cllr Kate Groucutt, Deputy Portfolio Holder for Inclusive Economy and the Third Sector, said: “In spite of this terrible pandemic we are as committed as ever to our ambition to build a globally competitive, environmentally responsible and socially inclusive economy in the Liverpool City Region, and our socially-trading organisations have a key role to play in achieving that goal. We have listened to the sector and committed the £5.5 million to enable the sector to support itself through Kindred.
“The sector’s inspiring response to the pandemic has demonstrated its importance to our economy and our communities. Our socially trading organisations will play a key role as we build back better and they will be supported by Kindred all the way.”
Vidhya Alakeson, CEO of Power to Change, strategic partner and co-investor in Kindred, said: “The social economy has long been a strength in the Liverpool City Region and that is why Power to Change chose it as a priority place for our support. As we think about how we can emerge from the coronavirus crisis and into a better, more inclusive future, where everyone can benefit from economic growth, we must knit the social economy into the heart of our wider economic strategy. Kindred is central to making that happen, providing long term support to enable socially trading organisations to grow and deepen their social impact. We are delighted to partner with Liverpool City Region Combined Authority to make Kindred a reality.”
Erika Rushton, Creative Economist, has been commissioned to deliver the set up and delivery of Kindred. “Kindred is the creation of over 200 socially-trading organisations in Liverpool City Region – the product of their collective experience of running organisations and businesses that serve the communities they’re a part of. It uses their expertise in what enables them to set up and grow. Kindred is owned by, and for, this growing network of STOs and offers a new kind of money and peer-to-peer support, designed to help deliver the kinder and more inclusive economy our city region and its mayor have set out to deliver.”