Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has approved £5.5m for its social investment vehicle Kindred with another £1m coming from independent trust Power to Change. Tony McDonough reports
Community businesses across the Liverpool city region are to benefit from £6.5m of new investment.
Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has approved £5.5m for its social investment vehicle Kindred and a further £1m will be added to the pot from independent trust Power to Change.
Socially trading organisations – also known as community businesses – are those companies that set out to deliver social benefits by trading commercially. They do not include more traditional charities who rely solely on donations or grant income, or those organisations who export profits from a locality.
The sector employs 50,000 people across the city region, one in 10 of the workforce, with 1,300 socially trading organisations generating £2.9bn per year for the Merseyside economy.
Since October 2019, the Combined Authority has been working with a founding team, including independent trust Power to Change, to develop Kindred as a new investment and development vehicle, owned and run by the sector.
After consulting with more than 150 socially trading organisations, Kindred was created earlier this year, and will be developed by and owned by the sector. Throughout the pandemic, Kindred has provided tailored, peer-to-peer business support for around 200 socially trading organisations across the city region.
Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “Our region’s social businesses are the often underappreciated engines of our economy, delivering economic and social value worth almost £3bn every year.
“Our recovery has to be built from the bottom up – as a Combined Authority we can act as an enabler, but we do not have the monopoly on good ideas. Because of devolution, we are able to work alongside our socially trading sector to understand their needs and challenges and have been able to tailor our response around that.
“The result is Kindred. Owned and managed by the sector, it will offer social investment and peer-to-peer support for other community businesses, with the aim of generating good growth whose benefit is felt most by the people at the heart of their communities.”
Kindred forms part of the Metro Mayor’s £8bn Building Back Better strategy which aims to help the Liverpool city region economy recover swiftly from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
Erika Rushton, a ‘creative economist’, who has been commissioned to deliver the set up and delivery of Kindred, said: “Approval for Kindred couldn’t have come at a better time, or a worse time.
“Despite improving prosperity in the city region, the pandemic highlighted just how fragile our economy was and how reliant we had become on large organisations and long supply chains that couldn’t, or didn’t, respond to our everyday needs. Socially-trading organisations stepped in and stepped up.
“Kindred was designed by, is collectively owned by, and will invest and reinvest in socially-trading organisations in the Liverpool city region. I look forward to the day when Kindred and social trading is the norm.”