I’m pleased to report that Localise WM has secured funding from the Barrow Cadbury Trust for 2013-14 to progress our work on Mainstreaming Community Economic Development.
You may be aware of our previous Mainstreaming CED project, which amassed a remarkable body of evidence around the social and economic benefits of localised economies (see our literature review or its summary) and then outlined how a local and community orientated approach can be integrated into conventional economic development to maximise these benefits.
This has given us a really useful body of material we can use to support progressive economic development, so we’re pleased to be able to develop it further, working with others to generate practical outcomes and building on our 2012-13 research findings:
- Engaging and discussing the opportunities of Mainstreaming Community Economic Development with project managers, policy makers and politicians
- Developing an informal learning network of practitioner to provide the opportunity for shared learning and wider implementation
- Working with partners to mainstream community economic development by testing its feasibility and ease of implementation in the West Midlands
- Monitoring and evaluating the impact of the mainstreaming community economic development approach and the implications for future learning and implementation
In particular we are planning to work with a hospital regeneration and supply chain project, a group of SMEs and other organisations aiming to establish a SME co-operative to facilitate joint winning of contracts; and one or two local authority strategies on specific issues. LWM colleagues for this project are excellent new additions Conrad Parke and Sarah Longlands, and longer-standing LWM members Jon Morris and myself.
Local authority cuts of course make this an incredibly challenging time for public services including economic development – and likewise for communities. But it also necessitates a rethink about how we deliver ‘more with less’ and less unequally. Some public bodies are exploring these ideas, and we hope our MCED work will help that trend to become more widespread.
We are also happy to talk to anyone about potential opportunities to progress this strand of work elsewhere.
The MCED project webpage is here, with links to the previous research page, reports, briefings and related work, and we’ll be posting update blogs here as the year progresses.