Our new partnership with Local Trust in Big Local areas

We're working with Local Trust to help social entrepreneurs in Big Local areas

Our new support offer in partnership with Local Trust will invest £2.8 million in building sustainable and socially-beneficial local economic growth in communities around England

Social entrepreneurs are improving their local communities up and down the UK, working hard to respond to specific challenges in their areas. In a new partnership we are working with Local Trust and 19 Big Local areas to accelerate social enterprise and increase local job creation through a three-year co-funded support programme.

"The social challenges we face have no easy answers, but Local Trust and UnLtd understand that the solutions lie with social entrepreneurs who have the spark and commitment to change their community for the better."

Mark Norbury, UnLtd CEO

The 19 areas taking part span a wide range of communities, including rural areas, new towns, market towns, suburbs and cities. All of them are part of the Big Local programme, a unique initiative that provides £1 million and a package of support to each of 150 areas in England. Each of the areas put forward a proposal to us outlining their ambition to strengthen local social enterprise, and the selection panel also drew on our energy index, which measures social entrepreneurial activity in a neighbourhood.

The 19 participating areas are:

London and the South East:
  • Bountagu Big Local, in Enfield
  • St James St Big Local, in Walthamstow
  • William Morris Big Local, in Walthamstow
  • South Bermondsey Big Local, in Southwark
  • Riverside Community, in Essex
  • Dover Big Local, in Kent
South West:
  • Par Bay Big Local, in Cornwall
  • St Peter’s and The Moors Big Local, in Cheltenham
  • Whitleigh Big Local, in Plymouth
Midlands:
  • Birchfield Big Local, in Birmingham
  • Palfrey, in Walsall
North:
  • Big Local Central Jarrow
  • Little Hulton Big Local, in Salford
  • Collyhurst Big Local, in Manchester
  • Sale West Big Local, in Greater Manchester
  • Barrowcliff Big Local, in Scarborough
  • Greatfield Big Local, in Hull
  • Tang Hall Big Local, in York
  • Keighley Valley Big Local, in West Yorkshire

Social entrepreneurs are uniquely well-placed to create change in their local areas because they deeply understand the problems facing their communities. The new partnership will support Big Local areas who are working to make their places even better, boosting confidence and inspiring other local people to tackle the challenges that matter to them.

With support from UnLtd, each Big Local area will be able to:

  • Access an annual grant fund of more than £16,000 in each area
  • Get dedicated help and support from UnLtd staff to unlock people’s potential and support the growth of social ventures in the area.
  • Forge new connections with local decision makers, government and investor communities, to create a culture where social entrepreneurs can thrive.

The three partners are contributing equal financial support, with UnLtd, Local Trust and each of the 19 Big Local areas providing £50,000 towards the project for the next 3 years, with work starting in January 2018.


Tang Hall Big Local

In York, UnLtd will be working with Tang Hall Big Local to support social entrepreneurs like Sue Williamson, who founded Tang Hall SMART to fill a void in her community after the local school closed. Using her experience as a teacher and skills as a musician, she gives vulnerable people the chance to be involved in a community, enjoy themselves and participate in music and the music industry. 

As her venture has grown she has begun to offer employment to other local people who have been farthest from the labour market and launched her own record label. Sue is one of a collective of social entrepreneurs in the area working to provide resident-led services that benefit local people, from pre-school & Yorkey dads’ cookery to all-inclusive riding classes from ages 18 months to seniors.


Mark Norbury, UnLtd CEO said:“We are living in increasingly turbulent times; economically, culturally and socially. The social challenges we face have no easy answers, but Local Trust and UnLtd understand that the solutions lie with social entrepreneurs who have the spark and commitment to change their community for the better. We must invest in the energy, talent and ideas in these local people and communities. This partnership will enable them to have a voice, create opportunities and build confidence so that they become fairer, more optimistic and resilient communities. There’s lots of hard work to come, but we’re looking forward to rising to this challenge.”

Matt Leach, Local Trust Chief Executive, said:“Residents involved in Big Local have a brilliant track record of finding imaginative ways to meet local needs. We’re delighted to renew our partnership with UnLtd and offer further support to Big Local areas that are harnessing local entrepreneurial spirit to explore and develop new social enterprises.”

This work is part of our wider focus on building resilient communities, through harnessing the power of social entrepreneurs.

In total, over the next three-years we plan to support 400 social entrepreneurs to transform their places for good. This will involve funding and supporting ventures to help them grow, building new collaborations between social entrepreneurs and other organisations, enabling access to further investment, and fostering a local support infrastructure of embedded social ventures.

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Author Info


Paul Drury-BradeyMedia & Campaigns Manager

I trained as a journalist, and spent the first part of my career working for local newspapers in the north of England. I moved to London in 2007 to start working in culture communications. This role led to diverse project for the British Council, and developing creative social impact campaigns for mainstream consumer brands. I joined UnLtd in the summer of 2016. I’m a real ideas person; and love exploring new ways of working at the intersection of creativity, entrepreneurship and social change.

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