Metro Mayor announces tailored business support for socially trading organisations
Around 200 socially trading organisations across the Liverpool City Region are set to benefit from tailored business support, as the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Power to Change have fast-tracked plans due to launch in the Autumn.
In October 2019, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram announced up to £5m to support Socially Trading Organisations (STOs) in the Liverpool City Region via a new investment and development vehicle, led by STOs.
The combined authority has since been working with a founding team, including independent trust Power to Change, to develop the vehicle, which is due to be delivered later this year by a newly-formed collective called Kindred.
In response to the current COVID-19 situation, the combined authority and Power to Change have accelerated their plans and made an initial £65,000 available to advise city region STOs on business continuity and sustainability planning.
This peer-to-peer advice and support will be immediately delivered through Kindred’s non-financial business support strand, Collaborating Communities, before Kindred’s official launch later in the year.
Steve Rotheram said: “We all need to work together if we are to keep local people and communities safe during the coronavirus crisis and our socially trading organisations, who are delivering crucial support to our most disadvantaged communities, have a vital role to play.
“That’s why we have fast-tracked this funding to ensure that these organisations have the tailored support they need to continue to operate during this challenging period.”
Vidhya Alakeson, chief executive of Power to Change which is the project sponsor of Kindred, said: “On behalf of the founding team of Kindred, we are pleased to have the opportunity to work with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority in these incredibly challenging times to support the city region’s highly-valued socially trading organisations, including community businesses.
“Kindred is about supporting the needs of STOs working in the city region’s communities, and this initial Kindred work will provide non-financial Collaborating Communities business support for STO needs at this time, backed by Power to Change and the combined authority.
“We recognise that the work of STOs, including community businesses, is particularly critical at this time of national crisis as they provide support to some of the most vulnerable communities in LCR.”
Helen Heap, of Seebohm Hill, part of the founding Kindred team, said: “We know that many things will change as a result of COVID-19, but one constant is the crucial role played by socially trading organisations working in their communities and supporting the most vulnerable.
“Right from the start of the COVID-19 crisis STOs have responded quickly, decisively and with empathy to the most pressing needs of society. STOs are needed now more than ever before just at the time when their very existence is at risk.
“The pre-launch work of Kindred is designed to sustain as many STOs as possible during the initial crisis period so that they are there to do what they do best once we get to the other side of the pandemic.
“By bringing forward funding for peer-to-peer business support for community and social businesses the LCR Combined Authority and Power to Change are providing a vital lifeline, helping to ensure that limited resources are deployed in the places and for the people who are most in need.”
Erika Rushton of Creative Economist and part of the founding Kindred team said: “Over the last few months we have spoken to over 150 Socially Trading Organisations within the city region to understand how Kindred can support them to grow their social impact.
“In the last week I have been inundated with calls and e-mails from those same socially motivated businesses, not for support, but with their ideas and actions to increase their impact within communities who are facing the challenges of coronavirus, despite facing their own uncertainty.
“Liverpool City Region has a strong and long heritage of people who put our collective good before personal gain.
“The speed with which our communities are organising and responding is testament to that heritage and the speed with which Mayor Steve Rotheram and his team have moved to ensure STOs are stabilised and supported demonstrates the importance he places on their part in delivering a truly inclusive, caring and resilient economy.
“At times like this Liverpool City Region shines.”
Kindred is now directly contacting all of the Socially Trading Organisations within its developing network. These STOs took part in the initial consultation process to help design Kindred ready for its future launch.