UnLtd, the foundation for social entrepreneurs, has announced support for people committed to transforming the places they live in. Supported by Postcode Innovation Trust, the four areas being helped are Crumlin and the South Wales Valleys, Stoke, Dundee and Brighton.
The support will enable enterprising people to start and grow ideas for lasting change, as part of UnLtd's work to build stronger and more resilient communities across the UK.
Pam Hardisty, Head of Community Entrepreneurship at UnLtd, explained, "Local people are uniquely well-placed to create change in their area because they deeply understand the problems facing their communities, and the solutions that will work. To reach their potential these social leaders need access to resources, connections beyond their own networks and the trust and backing of local institutions. Thanks to players of People's Postcode Lottery, we will be working with deeply committed people in these areas to come up with lasting solutions to problems that matter to local communities."
Each area was chosen because it was already showing evidence of energy and social leadership, suggesting that UnLtd support could have a deep and lasting social impact for local people.
Dundee's post-industrial reinvention to a vibrant and global city masks underlying challenges for many residents, including high youth unemployment and food bank usage. Local social entrepreneurs have solutions, such as The Circle, a hub where charities, social enterprises, community groups and socially-aware businesses collaborate to solve big problems.
Far from the bright lights of the Pavilion, Brighton's Mouslecoombe and Bevendean estates had become synonymous with anti-social behaviour and crime for many in the area. Community pub The Bevy has shown how residents can take back control of their own amenities. They have turned the pub into a valued local asset at a time where public sector resources are scarce. 70 different groups used the Bevy over the last year, including tenants' associations, health checks, Friday meals for seniors and community choirs.
In Stoke-on-Trent, an underused shopping centre has become a centre for social change. Building on the area's long history of creativity and craftsmanship, local people have even launched their own currency, the ceramic Counter Coin, to encourage volunteering and local participation in community activities.
Crumlin, close to the South Wales Valleys, is home to the Crumlin Viaduct Works ironworks and the iconic 20-acre site of the former Navigation Colliery. Today Crumlin faces an uncertain future. Top-down regeneration projects have largely failed. Local people in Crumlin have big plans for the site to act as a catalyst for local jobs, environmental impact and social change. Many other communities in the Valleys today show resilience and have similar aspirations to drive prosperity.
Recent research shows that local businesses can be agents of change in communities, and that one or two local 'sparks' often create significant social value. UnLtd has previously worked in over 130 areas, supporting over 1,000 'place-based' social entrepreneurs who in turn created 3,500 employment and volunteering opportunities. Their work benefited more than 27,000 people, over half from the most disadvantaged areas of the UK.
The work is made possible by players of People's Postcode Lottery. UnLtd and People's Postcode Lottery will be investing £285,000 in total. The funding will go towards awards of funding and support for local people, learning journeys to connect them to social entrepreneurs in other places and work with partners, local institutions and residents to create stronger and more resilient communities.
Joseph Ray, Social Investment and Innovation Advisor from Postcode Innovation Trust, said, "Supporting social enterprises that want to become more innovative and impactful across Great Britain is what we're really focused on and we're pleased that UnLtd will be helping with this mission.
"Working across different locations across the country and investing in projects that'll tackle a variety of social issues will make a real difference to communities."