We are thrilled to announce the ten local social innovators Footwork’s People and Place programme will be supporting in 2024.
They range from street-wide retrofit, converting neighbourhoods into power stations, and the repurposing of religious buildings for social use, to the transformation of streets into vibrant community networks, and giving people access to much-needed shared spaces that feel like home. This new wave of local innovators have the bold ideas needed to create lasting, positive change in their communities.
What is People and Place?
People and Place is a Footwork initiative now in its second year. The programme offers an unrestricted grant of £5000, giving innovators the time and the headspace to step back from the day-to-day delivery of their work. Alongside this, a programme of strategic support connects them with other innovators and a range of experts.
A little bit about the process to getting here
Following 9 months of deep listening and learning from our network of intrepid local social innovators, our experienced Insights Group members and many of you, this year's People and Place programme of support is more targeted. It aims to give innovators the opportunity to think strategically and with confidence, create connections with unlikely allies, share with others facing similar challenges, and grow their networks to achieve greater impact.
Over 1000 people viewed our Quick Quiz (aimed at helping people determine whether People and Place was a good fit for them), with 300 submissions, giving us a snapshot of the wide range of local problems and the people seeking support to tackle them with inventive solutions. We also held a ‘Drop-In’ session, a non-judgemental supportive space for potential applicants to ask any questions - big or small!
The enthusiasm didn't stop there - Footwork received more than 100 applications, each representing a unique group of people demonstrating the power of local innovation.
From Bath to Coalville, York to Walthamstow - in the face of the pressing challenges of gentrification to the complexities of the cost-of-living crisis, from combating social isolation to preserving our cultural venues - the result reveals people with the local knowledge, connections and unwavering determination to have a profound impact.
Through an open process of deliberation with our selection panel and place visits to meet all shortlisted applicants on their home patch, we identified ten ambitious projects to join the programme next year.
Here’s what our panellists had to say:
“The people coming onto the programme next year are finding ways around one of the biggest problems the UK faces: the financialisation and privatisation of space. They are creating institutions that give people meaning and joy, and places that they are proud to live in. They are an inspiring group that has the potential to show us fragments of a new future, and the first step on the path towards it.”
UCL Institute of Innovation and Public Purpose
“It was incredibly inspiring to see the breadth of projects that innovators from all over had taken up for themselves, all with the hope of making their local areas better places to live. It gives me immense joy and fills me with a lot of hope.”
Hani Salih, The Quality of Life Foundation
“Local social innovators possess abundant grass-roots knowledge equity coupled with a strong commitment to their communities. Their ideas and projects are refined through direct experiences. It is fantastic that Footwork is supporting them, as their bold ambitions of place transformation for lasting positive change is pertinent to retaining a just and fair society.”
Juliet Can, Stour Trust
In the coming year, we look forward to working with these inspiring individuals and groups to tell their story, to demonstrate project impact, to identify and overcome challenges, to find useful collaborators and, crucially, to know their own worth – and to keep you informed of their progress.
Here’s to a year of innovation, local impact and learning. And thank you for your continued interest and support!
Introducing the People & Place 2024 cohort:
Hilary, Dan & Leonie
Solar Street Retrofit, Power Station
“We believe in working hyper locally with national reach and always intended to develop a ‘street by street’ approach – taking our learnings and the documentation produced here to inspire other communities to take action.”
Linda & Emily
Reimagining Hillsborough, RivelinCo
“This project is an opportunity to co-design intergenerational, inclusive and diverse community infrastructure in a working class area, and by working collaboratively we'll be able to reach more people in meaningful and innovative ways.”
Turab & Awra
Space to Create, Other Cinemas
“Now that we have been gifted this space in kind it will allow us to truly create an identity around a space, and our dream is for our community to feel like our space is a second home to them.”
Public Health Parks Trust
“An asset based approach to community development, where the existing communities and our outstanding publicly owned green and blue spaces can help tackle intergenerational poverty.”
Creating a Community-led Design Code, AzuKo
“We want the South Woodford Design Code to be an exemplar, and blueprint, for what a community can create. A Design Code that is truly community-led will have lasting positive impacts for all residents.”
Laurie & James
Alternative Housing, YorSpace
“YorSpace can harness the power of the community to disrupt and revolutionise a housing market that no longer serves many in the city.”
Community-owned Creative Catalyst, Sister Midnight Community Venues
“Sister Midnight’s venue will be owned and democratically controlled by local people, not-for-profit, and seeks to radically re-imagine the role of music venues in communities.”
Engagement Ripple-effect, Interwoven Productions
“No one knows their place better than local people and by creating a group of animated residents to take action we are leaving a lasting legacy on each street.”
Pete, Gareth & Tricia
Chaple Repurposing, Bath Methodist Chuch
“Bath Methodist Church needs to solve this challenge of preserving its connections to the local communities whilst showing that it is willing to “think out of the box” and act against the injustice of the current housing system.”
Ground-up regeneration, Coalville CAN
“The solutions to the problems faced must be to find ways to build belief– from the ground up and to find ways for the community to take control of assets and become their own landlords!”