Empowering Places

Community Business catalyst programme

The opportunity

We were grateful to receive support from Power to Change to lead the Plymouth Empowering Places programme from 2017 – 2021, over a 5-year period. This was a fantastic opportunity to catalyse Community Businesses in the Devonport and Stonehouse neighbourhoods of Plymouth, areas with some of the highest inequality in the city.  

Our approach

  • Focus on community organising, new models of ownership, asset transfer, and enterprise   
  • Community listening and capacity building, leading to empowered and knowledgeable networks
  • Well-resourced community business support programme from our team of social enterprise experts
  • Flexible funding and investment – optimising Power to Change funding, alongside and combined with other forms and sources of investment
  • Funding directed towards biggest need for businesses, whether capital costs, operations and staffing, leadership development, capability, and capacity building
  • Maintain connections with Empowering Places network, to share, learn, and grown stronger – we travelled to Leicester, Wigan, Bradford, as well as hosting a learning event in Plymouth
  • Delivered two national conferences, named the State of Us, on the theme of powerful communities and economic democracy


The Empowering Places programme resulted in social, economic, and environmental value being created in organisations, neighbourhoods, and at city level.

See our impact graphic here.

It catalysed the start-up and growth of community businesses and created better conditions for them to succeed. It has supported strategic change at a city level, supporting an environment where community business can thrive. Driving investment and new approaches for ownership of land and buildings, supporting community wealth building, the development of a more circular and inclusive economy and growing a wider movement for community business and power.

It resulted in…

  • 15 community businesses supported
  • 13 new businesses incorporated
  • 25 jobs created
  • 1.25 million of additional investment secured
  • 15 land and buildings transferred to community ownership
  • 2 State of Us national conferences to build the movement – read more here
  • 100’s volunteers involved
  • 1000’s hours training, events, and volunteering