What’s the REconomy Project?

Repowering London before and after

The REconomy Project is part of the Transition Network, a global grassroots movement of communities seeking to strengthen their resilience to problems including climate change, rising energy prices, economic uncertainty and inequality. You can find out more about Transition here.

What’s the REconomy Project for?

A number of Transition groups or initiatives (TIs) are creating new livelihoods and enterprises, and expanding their area of influence deep into their local economic system.

The REconomy Project is here to help you do the same where you live – to take on the exciting challenge of transforming the economic destiny of your local community – moving away from the doomed ‘business as usual’ model and towards something that helps build resilience rather than destroy it, that offers opportunity and hope despite the challenges we face, and that demonstrates a system of trade and exchange that’s more sustainable, equitable and anchored in wellbeing, rather than economic growth at any cost.

What does REconomy look like on the ground?

There’s an increasing number of TIs already doing REconomy activity even if they don’t call it that, for example, starting new enterprises, especially community owned energy companies and food businesses. These individual ventures tell a great story about new ways of doing business that’s more sustainable and fair, as well as being financially viable.  Others are starting local currency projects, setting up ‘buy local’ campaigns or working with local businesses in some other way. 

While this REconomy activity is essential and inspiring, fully transforming your local economy will require more than new individual enterprises or projects (though this is a great start). It needs change in other parts of your local system too – for example, availability of employment space and land, support and incubation for entrepreneurs, helping existing businesses change their models, and ensuring the right skills are available as well as appropriate types of investment. To help bring about the desired changes, some TIs are already experimenting with the kind of strategic leadership project that works with partners to transform the local economic infrastructure.

So we are seeing three categories of REconomy activity emerging at the local level – click on each to see examples:

  1. Inspiring enterprises: new Transition-oriented enterprises and livelihoods
  2. Economic enablers: projects that provide support or infrastructure for new or existing businesses
  3. Leadership projects: strategic, partnered activity that plans and co-ordinates a range of activities

It’s possible (and desirable) that each category includes financially sustainable enterprise models. For example, an enabler such as a local currency scheme can be a trading entity in its own right. And a leadership project would also need to have the means to finance itself.

How can we help you?

We provide a range of resources, online training courses, webinars and support events around the UK. Most importantly perhaps, we share your stories (as well as those from outside Transition). These stories illustrate the power of community-led economic development, to inspire, replicate and help scale up our overall response – these are mainly shared via our blog and social media.

To help point you in the right direction for help, what’s your area of interest?

If you have some interest, but don’t want to be overwhelmed…

Stay in touch casually with updates about REconomy and related activity around the world via our facebook page or follow us on twitter. Not a social media fan? Regular REconomy updates are provided in the Transition Network newsletter (sign up here).

If you’re most interested in new livelihoods and enterprises…

Find out more about the inspiring enterprises that are emerging from Transition and other places, and where you might start to look for support.

If you’re most interested in projects and activities that will help local enterprises…

Find out more about economic enablers – these can help provide the support and infrastructure that new and existing enterprises need in order to thrive.

If you’re most interested in the leadership/strategic approach…

Our Primer will help you start your own local leadership project which aims to make significant change to several parts of your economic system (and which you might call your own local REconomy Project).

Not from the UK?

There’s growing interest in REconomy activity from other countries where Transition is already happening. We are working with 5 national Transition Hubs to explore how a REconomy-type project might work in their countries. We suggest you contact your National Hub (check here to see if you have one) to discuss your REconomy interest with them. Meanwhile we hope many of our resources will be useful for you, wherever you live.

If you have any other needs or questions…

Please contact us and we will get back to you, though sometimes it can take a while as we are only a very small team.

Who are we?

We are a team of 2 – 3 part-time funded people with a business and a Transition background and actively involved in our local TIs. We are very grateful to the funders who support our work, including the Friends Provident Foundation, the Polden-Puckham Charitable Foundation and previously the Roddick Foundation and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation among others.

We try to stay close to the TIs so we can best meet your needs. For example, we held a Dreaming Day recently, where input from 16 x UK TIs was used to shape our priorities for the next year or two. Please let us know if you are interested in being part of this group.

As well as links with TIs, we are just starting to work more closely with other like-minded national organisations (e.g. Co-operatives UK, the Equality Trust, the New Economics Foundation etc.) who share our aims. We want to create a louder collective voice, a solid evidence base and greater lobbying power aimed at the ‘top down’, which should then help your local ‘bottom-up’ activity to gain traction.

Cheerful disclaimer

Like the rest of Transition, the REconomy Project is an experiment, a real live economic laboratory at community level, and we are all learning as we go. We don’t pretend to have all the answers, but we share stories and resources that seem to work, based on our current understanding, and with the best of intentions. The REconomy Project is part of the Transition Network.

Photo credit: Repowering London.

 

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