Yorkshire and the Humber

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Supporting community business
in Yorkshire and the Humber

Yorkshire and Humber with its post-industrial cities, coastal communities and everything in between has seen significant support from Power to Change over the years. More than 130 grants to community hubs have meant better access to services, greater community cohesion, improved health and wellbeing and a boost to employability. But it’s a tale of two halves that best describes Power to Change’s impact in the region. One is Bradford, the other Grimsby.

Entrepreneurial energy

Bradford is an incredibly vibrant and busy city with huge amounts of drive amongst its Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities. Power to Change has invested over £4m in grants across the city, primarily in infrastructure organisations and community anchors. A sixth of this has been invested by the Empowering Places programme directly into Manningham, one of Bradford’s 14 wards that sits in the top 10% most deprived in England.

Made in Manningham, the catalyst organisation, has developed a unique model to incubate new community businesses based on grassroots community engagement, specialist support that builds on local people’s skills, and targeted support for groups who have been identified as likely to benefit from a community business approach.

Small investments have also been made in collaborative endeavours between VCSE organisations, supporting the desire to connect the incredible entrepreneurial energy in the city and test big ideas.

“Relatively small amounts of well applied money can make a big difference in helping the sector to support itself, support each other and to draw in more support. By funding bits that are hard to get funding for or filling a gap in order to strengthen what is already there, it encourages people to keep collaborating and shows the value of what they are already doing. We continue to be interested in investing in the mechanisms and glue that holds all this diverse work together in order to make it reach its potential.”

Bonnie Hewson

Place-based investment manager, Power to Change

Wellbeing economy

Grimsby, in contrast to Bradford, is a coastal community occupying almost the entire North East of Lincolnshire. Through Empowering Places, Power to Change has funded work to bring the VCSE sector together to bridge the gap with the local authority and raise their profile as a leading voice on the wellbeing economy.

Centre4 exists to support the regeneration of North East Lincolnshire and is a vibrant hub offering services and activities to the local community as well as incubator space for community businesses. They have supported into being a community gym, thrift shop, community farm, and an ethical recruitment agency.

A grant from Power to Change has helped them to do some work on town level wellbeing economy indicators to equip the local authority data and economies team to better integrate wellbeing into the Stronger Towns fund evaluation. It represents an important shift in thinking from the old era of economy versus community to the new era of integrated wellbeing economy.

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At Power to Change, our mission is to strengthen community businesses to tackle some of society’s biggest challenges at a local level, including the three biggest challenges of our time: climate change, digital transformation and social inequalities.