We work to create a more democratic economy in workplaces and communities through economic strategy, business support, research and policy, and partnerships with local government.

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Business & Infrastructure Support

Economic Development Programmes

Research & Policy

Events

Business & Infrastructure Support

Alternative Business Models short course

Delivered in partnership with Co-op Culture’s team of advisors, this training is designed to increase knowledge and capacity around alternative business models, focused on those used by co-operatives and community business, including the support landscape and the key differences in delivery of support to groups adopting alternative business models.

Duration

May 24 - ongoing

Region

Nationwide

Type

Training

Funder

Various

Partners

Co-op Culture

ABCs of the New Economy toolkit

A practical primer & event guide to support community-led organisations across the UK, crowdfunded successfully in summer of 2023. It is an accessible ‘primer’ on all aspects of the new economy, sharing straightforward tools and ideas for workplaces, communities, and movements for change. Thousands of copies of the ABCs of the New Economy are being distributed to hundreds of community-led organisations across the country, as well as offering a downloadable event guide to support UK-wide movement building events.

Duration

Jul 23 – ongoing

Region

UK

Type

Community organising

Funder

100+ supporters

Partners

Consortium of new economy practitioners

New Economy Programme

The New Economy Programme is Stir to Action’s democratic learning and action platform, both a national and online training programme, offering a wide range of courses on engagement and participation, social communications, media and journalism, democratic business, placemaking, creativity, and autonomy at work. The programme ran from 2018 in various cities across the country. During the pandemic NEP became an online programme with over 1000 participants joining training sessions. The programme is not currently active.

Duration

2018 - 2022

Region

UK-wide

Type

Training

Funder

Various

Partners

barefoot

Barefoot provides practitioners with specialist training to gain skills, knowledge, and confidence to work as advisors in the co-operative and community business sectors. We’re looking for a new generation of practitioners who work in their own co-operative or community business and want to support others to start up or grow their own co-operative and community-led organisations.

Duration

Jan 23 - ongoing

Region

UK-wide

Type

Training

Funder

n/a

Partners

Co-op Culture

Fundraisng support for Big Locals

In 2012, Local Trust was established to deliver the Big Local programme, giving 150 communities who have missed out on Lottery and other funding £1.1m each to support local regeneration. A decade later, Big Local partnerships are now developing long-term legacy plans, and Stir to Action are working alongside groups in communities to identify and diversify income and fundraising sources through group support and learningevents.

Duration

October 2022 - September 2023

Region

England-wide

Type

Fundraising support

Funder

Local Trust

Link

Partners

Founders for the Future

Founders for the Future was a free startup programme we designed for un and under-employed for young adults - 18-30 years old - in Devon.

We supported them to create new enterprise ideas that could secure a sustainable future for Devon’s local economy, through workshops, residentials, personal business consultancy, study visits, market access, and a pitch event.

Duration

Jan 22 - Jun 22

Region

Devon

Type

Business Support

Funder

Community Renewal Fund, UK

Partners

UnFound

UnFound is a support programme for tech founders and startups looking for a different way to create and run digital platform businesses. In 2018 we hosted an eight-week accelerator for a cohort of platform co-operatives in Manchester and London, offering masterclasses, mentoring, and a live fundraising event. In 2019 we created the UnFound roadshow in partnership with DOT PROJECT, a nationwide event programme in technology and innovation hubs across the UK to raise awareness of the platform co-operative model and the available support.

Duration

2018 - 2022

Region

UK

Type

Business Support

Funder

The Co-operative Bank

Partners

New Economy Centre at Selgars Mill

The New Economy Centre at Selgars Mill was a long-term project to setup an immersive work and play campus for building a democratic economy, to empower communities and individuals with both the practical and strategic tools they need to create change. The centre closed at Selgars Mill in Autumn 2022 when the landowner withdrew from the community ownership process.

Duration

Mar 20 - Nov 22

Region

Devon, UK

Type

Infrastructure

Funder

Various

Partners

Unlocking the Next Economy

In July 2017, Stir To Action launched a year-long pilot – Unlocking the Next Economy: Churches and Community Enterprise – to support communities to use church buildings for local enterprise. We worked with three pilot communities in the South West of England to create new community enterprises through a 16-week programme and hosted a one-day conference – Reimagining our Churches: Conservation to Co-operation – to bring together key people in the church, heritage sector, and those working in community economic development.

Duration

2017 - 2018

Region

UK

Type

Pilot

Funder

Friends Provident Foundation

Link

/une

Partners

Cooperate Islington

Cooperate Islington is a consortium of co-operatives and community organisers who are working in partnership with Islington Council’s Inclusive Economies team.

We are building a Cooperative Development Agency that will be embedded in Islington for years to come. We provide one-to-one advice, training sessions, funding, workspace, networking opportunities and other resources and support. We are also working with the biggest institutions in the borough, helping them adapt their supply chains to buy goods and services locally from ethical providers.

Duration

Jan 22 -

Region

Islington, London

Type

Infrastructure

Funder

Islington Council

Economic Development Programmes

Emergency to security: transforming the local food system

Stir to Action and Shared Assets worked in partnership with Oldham Council, the Food Partnership Board, and the wider CVSVCFSE to reduce the dependency on emergency food provision and to explore alternative models for local food. The core capacity building programme offered workshops, events, study visits, and specialist support, ranging from farm start initiatives, and community supported agriculture, to food co-operatives.

Duration

Mar 22 - Mar 23

Region

Oldham, Greater Manchester

Type

Capacity Building

Funder

Oldham Council

Partners

Action Together

Oldham Food Security Challenge Prize

We designed a challenge prize – offering more than £50,000 – to inspire Oldham residents and enterprises to create new or scaling food enterprises that are developing the most effective responses to local food insecurity. Shortlisted applicants were guaranteed a grant and were invited to pitch for the highest amount of funding available at an event in February 2023. The recipients of the grant amounts were decided by public vote and can be seen on the project page.

Duration

Sep 22 - Mar 23

Region

Oldham

Type

Grants

Funder

Oldham City Council

Partners

New Models for Family Farm Succession

Across the UK around 120,000 family-owned businesses are planning to retire or transfer ownership over the next few years (ONS), but two-thirds of these owners still do not have a succession plan. With commercial and policy pressure on UK land use and food production at an unprecedented level, our programme supports family farmers with succession planning through events and option papers, to increase the probability of family farmland converting into democratic ownership.

Duration

Feb 22 - Sep 23

Region

UK

Type

Pilot

Funder

Farming the Future

Community Anchors: A Co-operative Recovery

Preston City Council commissioned development co-operative Stir to Action to deliver a ground-breaking new programme as part of its Community Wealth Building programme, focused on providing targeted support for BAME organisations in the city, stimulating cultural awareness and interest in worker-owned business.


Duration

2020 - 2021

Region

Preston, UK

Type

Pre-start

Funder

Preston City Council

Partners

New Economy Youth

New Economy Youth was an inspiring programme specifically for 18-30 year olds who are developing enterprise-led and placemaking approaches to address local challenges in Lambeth, London. During the seven week programme there are workshops that develop participants' understanding of how co-operatives can transform their local economy, get connected to inspiring peers, build confidence and leadership skills, and increase opportunities and networks.

Duration

2019 - 2020

Region

UK

Type

Business Support

Funder

Lottery, Awards for All

Partners

Research & Policy

Review of UK Charitable Foundation Support for Community-led Change

We were commissioned by Local Trust to investigate how the funding of ‘community-led change’ is currently understood by the funding sector, including which funders are prioritising communities in their funding strategies, what types of funding is being offered, and how funds are being distributed across the UK.

The report is for internal use within Local Trust, and to inform Big Local groups to identify funders to support the legacy phase of the programme.

Duration

March - June 2023

Region

UK-wide

Type

Research

Funder

Local Trust

Link

Partners

Social Business Research

We’re working on a new research project that will form an essential part of Hackney Council’s commitment to creating a thriving local ecosystem for ‘Alternative Business Models’, such as co-operatives, social enterprises, and VCS organisations.

The research will look at which of these social business models best suit the Council’s objectives, what levers are available to the Council to support growth in the sector, and setting out a clear direction of travel for the Council to realise its ambition of becoming an exemplar local authority in its support for social businesses.

Duration

Sept – Dec 23

Region

Hackney, London

Type

Research & Policy

Funder

Hackney Council

Link

Partners

Renaisi Co-op Culture

Inclusive Business & Scotland’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation

In early 2022, the Scottish government published the National Strategy for Economic Transformation, which outlines a significant role for democratic businesses in regional regeneration and retaining local wealth. To support these policy ambitions, we’re undertaking a review of the most effective approaches to substantially increase the number of cooperatives and employee-owned businesses in Scotland within the next decade.

Duration

Sep – Nov 22

Region

Scotland

Type

Research

Funder

Co-operative Development Scotland

Link

Partners

Technocratic to Democratic

While it’s widely accepted there’s a significant gap between policy making and democratic business, it’s not always recognised that it’s undermining sector-wide ambitions for building a democratic economy. But can it change? Over the next two years we’re working on a new project (supported by the Friends Provident Foundation) to build effective relationships between democratic business and policy initiatives.

Duration

Apr 21 - Mar 23

Region

UK

Type

Research & Policy

Funder

Friends Provident Foundation

Events

ABCs of the New Economy Festival

The ABCs Festival is a two-day interactive event at Bristol’s Arts Mansion at Ashton Court from 10-11 July 2024. We host hundreds of people who are transforming their local economy who will participate in practical workshops, inspirational panels, and ideas surgeries.

In the evening we have live bands and DJs from across the UK!

Duration

10-11 July 24

Region

Bristol

Type

Annual Event

Funder

Various

Partners

The Arts Mansion

Democratic Business Summit

We are bringing participants together from across the democratic business sector for a one-day event to advance democracy in workplaces and communities, organised as part of our Democratic Business Centre.

Duration

1 Nov 23

Region

Manchester

Type

Event

Funder

Partners

Power to Change, Lankelly Chase, Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Playground for the New Economy Festival

Our annual festival is a unique two to three days of inspiring conversations, interactive workshops, virtual reality experiences, live podcasts, idea surgeries, sustainable food, craft drinks, and live music. We curate the programme, and design and run the event logistics.

We’ve hosted the festival on greenfield sites, online, and in a major UK city.

Duration

Annual Event

Region

National

Type

Annual Event

Funder

Various

Partners

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