The total investment, of up to £40 million, was announced after the latest government statistics showed regional inequality persisting. In the course of the last quarter, the East of England lost 36,000 jobs whilst the West Midlands gained 65,000. 

At the end of 2016 Andy Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England, warned that regional inequality was ‘right up there as among the most important issues that we face today as a country’. 

Power to Change’s programmes aim to boost local economies, while trusting local people to shape services which will benefit the whole area. It will do this by funding more community businesses to take root in each of these places. 

The programmes continue Power to Change’s commitment to back the biggest and boldest ideas emerging from communities, including work in partnership with Marks & Spencer which combines funding with gold standard retail training for new community businesses. 

All three will identify and support people in these places who, with the right resources, can design and deliver community businesses which will help the local area thrive. 

The 15 places are:

North West

  • Liverpool city region with focus on Toxteth and Dingle (with M&S)
  • Rochdale (with M&S)
  • Wigan (Abram)        

North East

  • Grimsby (Southward, Nunsthorpe and Bradley Park)
  • Hartlepool (Dyke House)
  • Middlesbrough (with M&S) 

Yorkshire & Humber

  • Bradford (with M&S) with focus on Manningham

East

  • Luton (Northwell)
  • Norwich (with M&S)
  • Suffolk rural 

Midlands

  • Birmingham (Handsworth and Handsworth Wood) with M&S
  • Leicester (Braunstone)

London

  • London borough of Newham (with M&S) 

South West

  • Bristol city region
  • Plymouth (Devonport and Stonehouse) 

Vidhya Alakeson, Chief Executive of Power to Change, said "There has been endless talk about bringing our regional economy into robust shape, from Northern Powerhouses to Midlands Engines. But we know from experience that promises made in Whitehall too seldom make a real impact in the communities where people live. 

Power to Change has always been committed to supporting the biggest and boldest ideas people have for transforming their neighbourhoods. These programmes continue our commitment, putting power into their hands and trusting them to get on with it. 

‘It isn’t just about pouring in money, but about making sure local networks have all the support they need, including research, communications and policy planning. This is a major initiative and where we see signs of success we intend to invest well into the future."

For further details please visit the Power To Change website here.