Bringing local economies closer to home

Our latest stories from around the UK All stories
Meet the communities leading the way to a fairer future
Ownership
IndyCube: Mark Hooper

Mark Hooper is the founder of IndyCube, a community benefit society and co-operative that runs co-working spaces in parts of Wales suffering from the decline …

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Environment
Banister House Solar: Wilhelmina Stewart

Wilhelmina Stewart is a co-director of Banister House Solar, an energy co-operative in Hackney. It started in 2015 when Repowering London trained 30 young people …

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Ownership
Findhorn Foundation: Camilla Bredel Pedersen

Camilla Pedersen is the chair of management of the Findhorn Foundation, which lies at the heart of 40 organisations making up all aspects of life …

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Lack of affordable housing divides the UK. The Government stands by watching homeowners get richer while renters struggle with higher living costs on lower wages. There is another way. In Devon, a community land trust could stop the decline of a village by helping young people stay and own homes. In Liverpool, Anfield residents are trialing a mutual model to share ownership of property.
Housing
Walterton and Elgin Community Homes: Jonathan Rosenberg

Margaret Thatcher introduced Tenants' Choice to privatise public housing. She could never have imagined how one group of residents would turn the policy on its head …

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Housing
South Brent Community Land Trust: Tim McGill

Tim McGill joined South Brent Community Land Trust when he started struggling to afford the house he was living in. While Tim is relatively new …

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Housing
Brixton Green Community Benefit Society: Bradley Carroll

Brixton Green Community Benefit Society formed eight years ago to make sure local people had a say in the redevelopment of one of the key …

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Take Action

  • Live in inclusive co-housing.

  • Take land off the market using a Community Land Trust.

  • Share ownership in a co-operative.

  • Occupy empty property.

Food production must increase 70 per cent to cope with a global population of nine billion by 2050, according to the UN. In London, urban farmers are growing salads in warehouses close to consumers, using new light technology. Meanwhile schoolchildren in Leeds are teaching their parents how to save money and stop waste.
Food
Brixton Local Food: Duncan Law

Duncan Law is a founder member of Transition Town Brixton, part of a national Transition Network working to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. He works two …

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Food
GrowUp Urban Farms: Tom Webster

Tom Webster used be a biologist at an environmental consultancy, advising construction firms on how to make projects sensitive to climate change. He found himself wishing that …

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Food
GlenWyvis Distillery: John Mckenzie

John Mckenzie heard about Dingwall's whisky history when he took some Russian visitors on a tour in his helicopter, and overheard the tour guide talking about it. …

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Take Action

  • Live in inclusive co-housing.

  • Take land off the market using a Community Land Trust.

  • Share ownership in a co-operative.

  • Occupy empty property.

Communities that share control over assets are able to shape their own destiny. In Scotland, a village was revived when residents saved their harbour from neglectful private owners, while a community-owned whisky distillery in the Highlands has the potential to transform the fortunes of a forgotten town. Preston Council is supporting co-operatives to stop wealth leaking out of the city after huge budget cuts. A workers’ guild in East London is helping traders fight for survival amid spiralling rents and business rates.
Ownership
IndyCube: Mark Hooper

Mark Hooper is the founder of IndyCube, a community benefit society and co-operative that runs co-working spaces in parts of Wales suffering from the decline …

Full Story
Ownership
Findhorn Foundation: Camilla Bredel Pedersen

Camilla Pedersen is the chair of management of the Findhorn Foundation, which lies at the heart of 40 organisations making up all aspects of life …

Full Story
Ownership
East End Trades Guild: Krissie Nicolson

Krissie Nicolson is the founding organiser of the East End Trades Guild, which brings together hundreds of small businesses to work for fair rent, business …

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Take Action

  • Start a community benefit society.housing.

  • Work with others in a co-operative.

  • Join a guild.

  • Invest in shares locally.

Coastal areas counted the highest support for Brexit. People are angry about poor governance of the natural resources the UK relies on for food, jobs, recreation and energy. Around the country, communities are taking matters into their own hands. In Swansea, tidal lagoon technology is at the heart of a long-running campaign to shift the UK to clean power, while an initiative in Brexit-heartland Lincolnshire supports the seaside economy.
Environment
Banister House Solar: Wilhelmina Stewart

Wilhelmina Stewart is a co-director of Banister House Solar, an energy co-operative in Hackney. It started in 2015 when Repowering London trained 30 young people …

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Environment
Coast NEL: Julia Thompson

Julia Thompson has been the voluntary chair of Coast North East Lincolnshire since it was founded early in 2016 to grow the visitor economy on …

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Environment
Tidal Lagoon Power: Ioan Jenkins

Ioan Jenkins is a Welshman with more than 15 years experience working in the mining industry. Four years ago he joined a team working on building the …

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Take Action

  • Learn about a Blue New Deal for the coast.

  • Invest in local renewable energy.

Local economies have been stunted by banks and local governments failing to invest in small businesses. Communities around the UK are invoking their power to create cash and credit in response. In Glasgow’s diverse Govanhill, an artist has created a currency to value overlooked and unpaid work by minority groups. Meanwhile the founders of the Bristol Pound are moving beyond currency to create local, sustainable credit to get enterprises off the ground.
Money
Eko local currency: Alex Walker

Alex Walker is the chairman of Ekopia, a community with 250 members in the Findhorn Ecovillage near Inverness in Scotland. Each member of invests small sums of …

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Money
Improving people's access to money in the UK

On December 12, I attended a meeting in Westminster about what still needs to be done to improve people's access to money in the UK, …

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Money
People's Bank of Govanhill: Ailie Rutherford

Ailie Rutherford, a Scottish artist, started the People’s Bank of Govanhill during a residency at Govanhill Baths in 2015. It has grown into a long-term project, mapping the …

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Take Action

  • Join the Independent Money Alliance

Patients without beds, long waiting times, overstretched emergency services, neglected elderly patients and poor support for mental health: just some of the symptoms of a health and social care system in crisis. In Totnes, Caring Town is a groundbreaking way of bringing together the public, private and voluntary sector to plug gaps in services, while Choices4Doncaster is a co-operative working on an alternative way to help the elderly enjoy old age.
Health
Caring Town: Fiona Ward

Fiona Ward is the co-ordinator for Caring Town, an initiative to make sure people in Totnes and the surrounding parishes have access to the health …

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Health
Choices4Doncaster: Martin Walker

Martin Walker was working for the local authority in Doncaster when he was asked to explore more interesting options than day care centres, where the elderly …

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Take Action

  • Find care co-ops in Wales.

  • Find support starting a care co-op in England.

Supply Chain
The Preston Model: Matthew Brown

Matthew Brown has been called a visionary thinker for his work boosting the local economy in his hometown of Preston. Brown worked with the Centre …

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Field Notes
Figuring out the future for local economies

  How can community volunteers become full-time activists? How can we create leaders that act as facilitators rather than heroes? How can groups scale up small …

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Field Notes
What can the UK learn from Mondragon?

In the the last 60 years a massive, worker-owned co-operative has taken the Basque Country in northern Spain from the brink of bankruptcy to prosperity, …

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Field Notes
East End businesses rally to stop rate hikes

The day before the Budget, a trio of business owners gathered outside 10 Downing Street carrying tote bags emblazoned with the logo of the East End …

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