Grants / Projects we are funding

The Bevan Foundation – Building Economic Resilience in the South Wales Valleys

Grant details


Awarded on:01/01/2019

Duration:29 months


Area of interest

Local economic resilience

Themes covered

Community resilience

What next for a region like the South Wales valleys, an area of constant economic deprivation since the loss of major coal and steel industries. Waves of top-down, classic economic growth initiatives have failed to make a substantial difference, and greater challenges lie ahead. Could there be another way to build resilience? The Bevan Foundation will explore this issue, using best practice example of more community led, local initiatives from across the UK. They will then deliver a set of policy recommendations that could make a difference to the region.

What is the issue?

The south Wales Valleys has been subject to multiple, severe economic shocks from the loss of coal, then steel and more recently manufacturing industries, dramatically undermining its resilience. There is now deep economic stress, weakened social capacity, and limited personal resilience.  Governments have attempted to regenerate the area for many years, with some modest improvements, but overall the local economy remains very fragile. Looking ahead, the lack of economic resilience means the area is at considerable risk from challenges such as automation and Brexit.  The reasons for slow progress include the area’s significant former dependence on mining and steel and its geography, but also the neo-liberal model of economic growth adopted which has simply not rebuilt an economy that meets people’s needs or which has the ability to adapt to further challenges.

What will the project try to achieve?

The project aims to help implement a new approach to economic resilience in the area. The organisation will do this by tailoring methods developed in other parts of the UK to circumstances in the south Wales valleys, building local capacity to deliver resilience. It will do this by bringing together UK experts and local economic actors on four themes (procurement, social business growth, community assets and new financial instruments), and sharing the findings and solutions throughout the project so that others can learn and take action

Who might be interested in this project?

Anyone who wants to increase economic equality, especially in former industrial communities.