Grants / Projects we are funding

Activating local alternative economies across the UK: New Start magazine

Grant details


Awarded on:01/03/2015


Area of interest

Local economic resilience

This project will map and activate alternative local economic activity in 10 UK cities through a series of events aimed at building local resilience coalitions. Each event will result in a publication, microsite, and a best practice compendium will be produced.

What is the issue?

While the need for a new narrative of local, place-based economics is growing, those working on it are currently too fragmented to make significant impact. The patchwork of innovations and pioneering practices that are forging a vision of a new local economy need to be joined up into a comprehensive approach that will guide cities as they move towards greater local powers. The pieces of the puzzle of local economic resilience are emerging across the UK’s core cities; they need strategic co-ordination and integration to challenge the dominant economic narrative.

What will the project try to achieve?

New Start (part of CLES, the Centre for Local Economic Strategies) and nef (the New Economics Foundation) will activate local alternative economies across the UK by building ‘local resilience coalitions’ in the UK’s ten core cities. Working with local partners, the two organisations will hold a one-day conference in each city to unite the funders, entrepreneurs, social organisations, community groups and statutory bodies working towards local economic resilience. For each city New Start and Nef will create a publication that will report on the outcomes of the conference, detail local innovations, and identify the most equitable approach for that place. Through the creation of ten publications linked to the UK’s ten core cities – and a final compendium – the organisations will build a body of work on exemplar projects and best practice. This project offers a unique opportunity to draw together a locally rooted, but geographically comprehensive, coherent narrative about the nature of locally led, ecologically and socially sustainable economic development. The legacy of the year’s work will be to provide local community activists, council officials and members, local voluntary sector professionals and local business stakeholders with a strong collective understanding and narrative, and growing recognition by local and national policymakers of the centrality of these issues within the wider devolution and economic recovery debates.

Who might be interested in this project?

Local authorities, the local voluntary and community sector, those working in and interested in local finance, local councillors and other local leaders, organisations working to develop economic resilience in their locality, community and local currencies, activists building local economic resilience, local health networks, small business sector, social enterprise sector, those building a civic and social economy, development trusts and other locally based charities and organisations.


UPDATE September 2016: The project has now produced its final report.

The Foundation also agreed to fund some follow up work


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