Submitted by UIA admin on Fri, 12/16/2016 - 10:54
Challenge addressed

Birmingham is a key economic hub and a popular destination for migration.  Whilst the city is a 'big draw', the reality of poverty and underemployment amongst indigenous and migrant populations is leading to increasing social, economic and environmental isolation. We will be working in a highly-populated inner city transect with high poverty and new migrant populations, where more than 40% of the population has no formal qualifications. We will use the building of a new hospital, local social enterprise structures and universities rich in cultural and creative capital to enable the population to self-empower in a sustainable way.  This means increasing their employment prospects and their ability to engage and influence the public planning, investment and strategy that takes place in their localities.

Solution proposed

We will use the social, cultural and educational micro and macro assets already present in individuals and communities.  Local government, the health service and universities will work with neighbourhoods to capture their aspirations and social and support networks.  These will be mapped and brought to life with citizen narrative, thus providing a 'live' quantitative and qualitative evidence base to guide changes in administrative, health and educational strategy, investment and evaluation.  We will support local people into jobs in the National Health Service and social enterprise, harnessing existing professional expertise that needs reaccreditation and transposing business opportunities onto grassroots cultural networks.  We will help communities develop the language and understanding of structures and systems needed to make a difference to the jobs, built environment, natural space and social networks open to them.  We will help fine-tune and connect the talent that lies within the chosen transect.

  • Birmingham City Council
  • University of Birmingham - University
  • Karis Neighbour Scheme - NGO
  • Initiative for Social Entrepreneurs - Private Company
  • Birmingham Voluntary Services Council - NGO
  • Localise West Midlands  - NGO
  • Smethwick Church Action Network  - NGO
  • Co-operative Futures  - NGO
  • Birmingham City University - University
  • Canal and River Trust - NGO
  • Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust - Public Service Provider
  • Father Hudson’s Care - NGO
  • Health Exchange CIC  - Private Company
  • Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce
  • Citizen Coaching CIC - Private Company
Expected results

As a result of the project, people in the communities will access jobs at the hospital and other opportunities linked to the large investment projects planned for the area (macro-assets). New businesses will be created and developed in the area by local people and even more people will find employment within these businesses.  We will support them to raise their aspirations and to access affordable educational and training opportunities.  With residents, local authorities, universities, social enterprise and NHS working as equals, we hope our activities will fundamentally change the way these partners deliver and shape, education and training, investment, business support and community collaborations. We will use the intelligence and results emerging from USE-IT! as a basis for feasibility work to inform how we strengthen and use innovative forms of finance to continue to connect macro-assets and micro-assets longer-term to provide a sustainable way of ensuring the results of the project continue to be supported beyond the UIA programme. We shall do this by putting the residents and their 'lived expertise' at the centre of decision making.

Main milestones

April 2017: Soho Social Enterprise Network and the SE Propeller Programme set up
June/July 2017: First cohort of Community Researchers recruited
June/July 2017: Retail Consortium set up
August 2017: First participant into paid employment with the NHS
September 2017 : IELTS training for participants with overseas medical qualifications start (first cohort)
November 2017: 100th participant recruited on the programme
February 2018: Community Partner Programme launches (CR light)
March 2018: Health Consortium of SEs set up
Summer 2018: Work on three Community Economic Development Plans commence

"Birmingham needs innovative, bold and creative ideas to tackle urban challenges and the USE-IT! project is a rare opportunity for the city and its partners to take a risk and experiment, to test how new and unproven solutions work in practice and how they respond to the complexity of real life."

Cllr Carl Rice, Lord Mayor of Birmingham
The project in numbers
Birmingham is the 6th most deprived city in England when measured by extent of deprivation.
of the population lives in an area of Birmingham that is classified as one of the most deprived in England
More than 40%
of the population have no educational qualification (2011 census and IMD 2015).
Contact of the project
Karolina Medwecka
EU Programmes Co-ordinator
Nils Scheffler
UIA expert

Project News

Promoting Social Enterprise within the Built Environment

Through our work on the place-based USE IT project, iSE was delighted to facilitate a marketplace to bring together leading built environment providers with the innovative social enterprise suppliers at a March event, hosted at The Signing Tree Conference Centre. This key event in our USE IT 2018 calendar of activities, networking and workshops enabled over 25 social enterprises a unique opportunity to showcase the products and services directly to a number of decision makers from leading construction provider Wates Group along with Amey plc, Kier Group plc, Morgan Sindall Group, Mace Group, BAM Construct UK and Willmott Dixon.


Presentation video

Birmingham USE IT UIA
marketplace built envt providers