Gainsborough will receive a share of a new £33 million investment programme launched today aimed at tackling inequality through boosting the social economy.
Local Access, a partnership between Access – The Foundation for Social Investment, and Big Society Capital, will provide money for six places in total: Bradford; Bristol; Gainsborough; Greater Manchester (Bolton, Oldham, Stockport and Wigan); Hartlepool, Redcar & Cleveland; and Southwark in London.
Gainsborough formed a successful partnership between, Lincolnshire Community Foundation, Key Fund, Sortified, Voluntary Centre Services and West Lindsey District Council to bid for the investment. The money will support charities and social enterprises in Gainsborough to grow the local social economy to tackle local issues.
Eve Fawcett-Moralee Executive Director of Economic and Commercial Growth at West Lindsey District Council, welcomed the news on behalf of the Gainsborough Investment Partnership (GIN). She said: “Our bid made a compelling case for Gainsborough – setting out the real challenges to tackle the multiple causes of deprivation together with opportunity to grow the town, on an equitable and inclusive basis. We are driven to support the town’s social enterprises and to develop a social economy to achieve this. Local Access’s endorsement of our approach to is huge boost to our collective confidence”.
Richard Collins, Creative Director for Sortified said: “Being selected to develop a sustainable social economy for Gainsborough through this programme is an amazing achievement. This is going to be a fantastic opportunity for people in Gainsborough to be involved in developing and shaping the services that affect inequalities. It’s also great for local social enterprises, charities and community groups to get support, to grow, and to thrive, with new funding streams being developed to benefit local organisations. We can’t wait to work with local people and organisations to look at local needs and to develop a social economy that is good for Gainsborough, and makes things better.”
Leader of West Lindsey District Council, Cllr Giles McNeill said: “This is fantastic news for Gainsborough. Punching well above our weight with big cities like Bradford, Bristol and Greater Manchester all vying for funds. Gainsborough would benefit disproportionately compared with these big cities because for them a few million pounds is a drop in the ocean, but forgotten places like Gainsborough, it could be a catalyst for lasting, sustainable improvements to the town.”
Seb Elsworth, Chief Executive of Access – The Foundation for Social Investment, said: “We all know charities and social enterprises do good work in our communities, but the sector’s power as an economic force, one which can help reshape local economies and in so doing tackle the most entrenched inequality, is often overlooked.
“We are delighted to be working with Gainsborough to help them to realise this potential and grow their local social economy through the tools of enterprise support and access to investment through blended finance.”
Cliff Prior, Chief Executive of Big Society Capital, said: “Where you were born should not affect your opportunity to live a happy and fulfilling life. But there are many areas in the UK that have experienced high levels of deprivation for many years, and even in relatively prosperous areas there can be pockets that reveal huge levels of inequality.
“We believe the Local Access programme offers an innovative approach to levelling up the disparity between places through developing the social economy. Crucially it is a pilot programme, and so we look forward to gathering the learning emerging from each of the places as the programme progresses.”
The partnership in Gainsborough will develop the local infrastructure required to support and fund an evolving social economy. This will include developing a package of support and investment around planning, infrastructure, development and funding for charities and social enterprises. These organisations play a vital role in helping to address inequalities in Gainsborough. The partnership will now begin a co-design process with Access and Big Society Capital to refine their plans with the aim to launch in the second half of this year.