How can combined authorities support the social economy to fix regional economies? – a discussion with Tracy Brabin

As a partner in the Future Economy Alliance, we were proud to host a roundtable with West Yorkshire’s Metro Mayor Tracy Brabin, bringing together social enterprises and other mission-led organisations for a discussion of how combined authorities can support them to fix regional economies.

With ‘local power’ being a key pillar of our Future Economy Alliance campaigning, the event was an opportunity to show the importance of mission-led organisations to grow local economies and address the big challenges facing communities. Discussion centred on how West Yorkshire can become a beacon for mission-led organisations – which are vital to creating jobs and opportunities, delivering public services and creating safer communities.

With valued community assets such as shops and pubs under threat, the role of mission-led organisations in saving these institutions was also discussed, as well as their role in spearheading schemes to protect the environment though running programmes such as recycling schemes.

Some of the challenges discussed included the need to get mission-led organisations a seat at the table on key local bodies and to support them to access procurement opportunities. One solution offered was to create a local or regional version of Social Enterprise UK’s Buy Social Corporate Challenge, where big businesses commit to bringing social enterprises into their supply chains, using their everyday spend to create positive social and environmental impact. There was also a call for more long-term support for the sector including making sure mission-led organisations can access suitable finance.

Tracy Brabin was keen to find out more ways she could help the growth and development of mission-led organisations and asked for further details on what concrete steps she and the combined authority could take to support the sector.

It is great to see the West Yorkshire Mayor, as well regional mayors in Greater Manchester and the West of England Combined Authority, leading the way in recognising the power and potential of mission-led organisations. We now need others to follow suit nationally.

We would like to thank everyone who joined the roundtable, especially social enterprise, Shine, who kindly hosted the event.

To find out more about the Future Economy Alliance and our Business Plan for Britain visit >>