Words by Witton Lodge Community Association
On 24 October Witton Lodge Community Association (WLCA) were delighted to welcome the Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, to officially launch the Social Enterprise Cluster.
Part of a £2 million support package through the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) using unspent Commonwealth Games money, this initiative has been created to help level up some of the region’s most disadvantaged neighbourhoods.
The Cluster is being led by key social businesses in all the Combined Authority’s seven constituent council areas of Birmingham, Dudley, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Sandwell, Coventry, and Solihull.
Each organisation will receive seed funding to help them develop plans to identify specific projects that will improve the local area and act as a springboard to bring in further investment.
Witton Lodge CA was co-funded by Power to Change as the first local cluster and is now joined by a dynamic mix of social businesses including CWCDA, iSE, Colebridge Trust, SWEDA, Access to Business, and Provision House, all of whom have excellent experience in developing and supporting their respective communities.
This is a valuable opportunity to learn from each other and create a sustainable eco-system for social organisations and their communities to flourish.
Afzal Hussain, Chief Officer at Witton Lodge Community Association, said: “We were delighted to welcome everyone involved with the Social Enterprise Cluster to Witton Lodge for the launch of this fantastic initiative. This investment will give us the much-needed resources to do the job we are trying to do, to improve the local area and economy to generate wealth and retain it in our communities.
“It’s a great opportunity for the community to decide what’s right for us, and help create change that makes a real, tangible difference.”
The WMCA’s Social Economy Growth Programme is being funded by the WMCA’s Commonwealth Games Legacy Enhancement Fund, which was established in response to the Games coming in under budget.
Following discussions with the Mayor and the WMCA, the UK Government agreed to invest the £70 million underspend back into the region to enhance the legacy of the Games and ensure the benefits continue their positive impact for years to come.
Watch Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street discuss the importance of social economy with Afzal Hussain, Chief Officer, and Linda Hines MBE, Resident Director/Chair of WLCA.
For more on Witton Lodge Community Association, visit www.wittonlodge.org.uk
Witton Lodge Community Association is a key partner in the Erdington Local COMMUNITY ANCHORS programme, supporting independent local and community journalism.