Helping Social Enterprise
- Community Wealth Building
The direction I set for the Combined Authority is to have co-design at its heart. We work with people. This is the approach which informs all of our programmes and the way we interact with our partners.
Community Wealth Building is an important part of this. Essentially, it is a policy of keeping local the wealth generated in our region and, in keeping it local, making sure that all of our residents and communities benefit from it. Co-design and collaboration is an important element in making sure that our economy is truly inclusive. It is an approach which is informed by our overarching goal of improving the wellbeing (financial, physical and mental) of all our residents.
We closely collaborate with our partners in the Voluntary, Community and Social Economy (VCSE) sector through the quarterly NTCA/VCSE stakeholder engagement group. We communicate regularly with the VCSE community through the £346k VCSE Small Grants Programme (such as the Angelou Centre in Newcastle, working with marginalised young people). We also continue to work closely with the local business community and the trade unions. We are currently developing further mechanisms of collaboration and co-design with residents’ groups.
I have quarterly meetings with the business organisation representatives; CBI, North East Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses, TechUK and MakeUK. We work closely with these organisations as they have superb knowledge of what their members are thinking and feeling. I also regularly visit local businesses so I know what ishappening on the ground.
We have our quarterly Inclusive Economy board, chaired by Tanni Grey Thompson, which has people attending from across the sector.
Our Poverty Truth Commission has at its core fifteen commissioners, people with lived experience of poverty. They will be focussing on food poverty, caring responsibilities and health with the aim of coming up with practical interventions which will make a difference to the lives of people struggling on a low income.
Our Equalities Assembly has taken place attended by a diverse range of people with protected characteristics. The focus is on the barriers to good work with the aim of formulating possible interventions to address these.
I hold a quarterly Mayor’s Question Time, located a different places throughout the North of Tyne region. Anyone is welcome to submit a question and come along. That’s how democracy works. I believe in making myself available to answer questions.
As an organisation we also lead by example with our forward thinking value and ethics-base policies (Equality and Diversity, Social Value) which are embedded in our organisation’s culture.
I could list another hundred ways we’ve co-designed and listened. From our crowdfunding which engages communities at a grass roots level to the events run to design of our new Social Economy fund. It’s at the heart of everything we do.