In 2021, the Independent Inequalities Commission’s recommendation for Greater Manchester to: “Create a Community Wealth Hub to support and grow co-operatives, mutuals, social and community enterprises, staffed by people from the co-operative and community sector who understand the market”. Since that time, GM Combined Authority (GMCA) has been speaking with that sector to better understand why this Hub might be needed, and in March 2022 launched a co-design exercise which would enable people who might benefit from or supply services to the Community Wealth Hub to get involved. More information here.

As the ideas develop, GMCA wants to be able to check them to make sure that the ‘Hub’ is helpful for everyone; providing the right services and support, open and accessible to all who might want to use the Hub, and where beneficial, tailored to the specific needs of particular communities.

The ‘Hub’ would not necessarily be a building – it could be a knowledge hub, it could be a web based ‘platform’, it might have in person advice sessions – or it could be a mixture of all of these.

GMCA is putting out a call to disabled people who might be interested in this work, but not currently part of the co-design, to join a discussion about how they might avoid inadvertently creating any barriers for disabled people who currently (or want to in the future) run a social enterprise / community business / co-op. They want the Hub to be usable by anybody – so what do they need to consider in order that disabled people can benefit from the support that the Hub will provide?

If you are interested in this subject and wish to join the discussion, please email Anne.lythgoe [at] greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk They are hoping to hold a virtual round table discussion lasting around 1.5 hours, probably in early September.

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