Resilient communities

Social entrepreneurs are working hard to respond to the challenges faced by people in their communities.

Yet in a climate of increasing inequality, lack of trust in decision makers and a contraction in public spending, many don’t feel empowered to create change in the places where they live.

Since 2010 there has been a real term fall in public sector spending of 10%, the longest and biggest on record.

By 2020, public spending is expected to have reduced by a further 13%. It is vital that we harness the talents and skills of local people to tackle the rising challenges faced by communities and the vulnerable people who live in them.

People have the ideas to help their communities

Solutions designed and led by people who have lived through the issues they are trying to solve are often the most effective.

People like Peter Scollard, who has emerged as a local leader and social entrepreneur from Northfleet Big Local area. We worked with Peter thanks to our partnership with Local Trust, a place-based funder. They work with 150 Big Local areas, where people are making their communities even better places to live.

Northfleet, once a thriving industrial area on the Thames, has fallen on harder times in recent years. The decline of its industry and the longest and biggest fall in public sector spending on record have taken their toll on residents.

Yet Peter feels deeply that encouraging people to take pride in their environment and their town can bring about a real and lasting change.

We appreciate the huge potential of local leaders to grow sustainable solutions to the big social challenges of our day - unemployment, poor health, poverty, a shortage of affordable housing to benefit all residents, especially the most vulnerable.

Over six years, through our Star People programme, we supported 1,027 social entrepreneurs in Big Local areas to transform the communities they live in.

Supported by Local Trust we worked to unleash the energies of people transforming the areas where they live. In total we gave out over £3.4m in funding in 133 Big Local areas in England and also with other key funders in inner city areas like Hackney, across large urban areas like Sandwell and remote places such as Argyll and Bute.

The Star People tackled a wide range of social issues; challenging antisocial behaviour, growing food locally, improving parks and play areas and engaging people in sports and the arts.


Almost half of our Star People social entrepreneurs worked in the most deprived areas in the UK.


of our social entrepreneurs in Big Local areas felt more confident to act for social benefit.


of our social entrepreneurs in Big Local areas have developed new skills as a result of our support.

Backing people to make their communities thrive

Our vision is a future where social entrepreneurs flourish in and with their communities, implementing sustainable, locally embedded solutions.

Building on our experience and knowledge, UnLtd we will bring together and support 600 social entrepreneurs across 31 communities over a five year period.  In each community we will enable social entrepreneurs to achieve significant impact in their community by:

  • Funding and supporting social entrepreneurs as they grow their ventures
  • Finding champions who can open up markets and bring resources to social entrepreneurs
  • Building local peer networks of support and connecting our social entrepreneurs to other great sources of support
  • Building collaboration between these entrepreneurs and other local players
  • Enabling them to access investment, innovate in their areas and influence externally
  • Fostering a local support infrastructure and critical mass of social ventures.

An important part of this work is our learning journeys giving people opportunities to meet with other social entrepreneurs who are already on their way to success with their ventures.

The story so far

UnLtd is now supporting social entrepreneurs in 11 areas of the UK. Working with local social entrepreneurs we are building resilient and enterprising communities through supporting people to create their own solutions that improve the places they live in. The areas we are working in for the next 4 years are:

  • Argyll and Bute
  • Glasgow
  • Dundee
  • Bradford
  • Stoke
  • Dudley
  • South Wales Valleys
  • Brighton
  • Sheffield

Additionally, in partnership with the Local Trust we are backing enterprising people with ideas to benefit their community in 19 Big Local areas. 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
  • Birchfield Big Local, in Birmingham
  • Palfrey, in Walsall
  • 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

Sound like you?

You can submit an expression of interest using the button below. At this stage we’ll ask you to tell us a few details about yourself, the problem you’re trying to tackle, and your idea to achieve this.

Apply here

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