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How do we build strong local economies in the valleys?

January 10th 2019

In 2019, we began a project to build local economic resilience in the south Wales valleys.

What is the challenge?

Governments have been attempting to regenerate the valleys for many years, with limited success. As a result of reduction of industry and successive economic downturns, some parts of the valleys have weak local economies which lie at the root of some of the the biggest socio-economic challenges around jobs, skills, health and well being.  Automation, demographic change and Brexit present further challenges to some already fragile economies.


This innovative project aims to develop and oversee the implementation of a new approach to economic resilience, both in the Valleys and across wider Wales, by bringing together UK experts and local economic actors and harnessing the lessons and experience from the new approaches currently emerging in other parts of the UK. By doing so, it aims to increase financial well-being of people and the resilience of communities.

What are we doing?

We are working on a programme for resilience that outlines what kind of strategic approaches and policy changes are required to help support positive change in the valleys.

We are developing practical interventions, tailored to local circumstances, to build economic resilience, in four areas we have identified for detailed work:

  • Growing social business (including social enterprise, self-employment and co-operative models of business)
  • Use of community assets
  • Harnessing procurement


Prosperous valleys, resilient communities »

Anchor Towns »

Productive community assets: generating the benefits »

Transforming the valleys:a manifesto for resilience »


We are extremely grateful for the support of the following funders without which this project would not be possible: Friends Provident Foundation,  Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, Hafod , Cynon Taf Housing Association, Merthyr Valleys Homes and Tai Calon Community Housing, United Welsh Housing and UnLtd.

We are still seeking financial contributions to enable us to complete this project so please contact us if you would like to discuss the opportunities. This project is funded until March 2021


If you are interested in this work we would love to hear from you. For more information please contact Helen Cunningham at [email protected]

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