It’s been a challenging few months for us all; first the floods, quickly followed by the pandemic, with no time to catch our collective breath.  Since the lockdown was announced we’ve seen a great deal of change, with many examples of community-orientated, need-focused interventions happening all over the place.  Many of these involving the most unlikely organisations who before the pandemic, wouldn’t have considered changing the way they work. It’s been inspiring to see.

Connect4Success is Practice Solution’s Foundational Economy project in Rhondda Cynon Taf and is looking at ways we can take the best from this bad situation operationalise these different ways of working that will deliver reliable and valued services for public sector clients

It aims to increase the proportion of goods and services supplied to the public sector by local businesses in the area. In practice this means the project team will collaborate with a number of local suppliers to provide the goods public bodies are procuring as and when they need them. Over recent months we have been interviewing decision makers and community leaders to get a better picture of what this might mean in practice.  We’ve used this time to understand the blockages, but more importantly, spot the opportunities that currently exist and where others might be in our post-lockdown future.

The recent weeks have given us all first-hand experience of what the foundational economy looks like from day to day. Think of all those workers who are busily keeping our communities functioning during these challenging times.  They are part of the economy we can’t do without - and will need support and investment going forward.

My fear is that once our communities and services become unlocked, all the positives that have helped us collectively deal with the pandemic could evaporate. With that in mind, the Connect4Success project team needs to work hard to create the policy and political conditions that will strengthen the Foundational Economy of the future. 

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Dafydd Thomas
Project Manager, ConnectForSuccess
Practice Solution