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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2017-05-05

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

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Head of Liverpool based organisation is 1 of the visionaries behind Peoples Powerhouse movement

A businesswoman whose career has been dedicated to supporting people find employment, is spearheading a social movement to help shape Northern Powerhouse dialogue and plans. Tracy Fishwick, Managing Director of Transform Lives based on Hope Street, Liverpool, is part of the team behind the 'Peoples Powerhouse', a movement that aims to start a dialogue about inclusive and good growth and its potential to transform communities and lives across the North of England.

The Peoples Powerhouse will kick off with an event, on 12 July 2017, in Doncaster and aims to involve people, organisations, charities and networks from across the North of England. "Its aim is to be a unifying event, helping shape the Northern Powerhouse debate and perfectly timed post General Election to move the Powerhouse debate forward and create a North which works for everybody." The idea for the Peoples Powerhouse was sparked in February following the Northern Powerhouse Conference in Manchester which was criticised for its lack of female speakers. Explains Tracy:- "I saw the tweets about the Northern Powerhouse conference and immediately spotted that there were no women on the panel. But it wasn't just who was there, it was what they were talking about as well as what wasn't being discussed. The agenda was all about buildings, trains, economic growth; nowhere did it mention anything about people. Our aim is to change that."

Tracy worked at leading the employment and skills agenda in Liverpool City Region for 16 years including setting up Knowsley Works, which was and still is at the forefront of helping unemployed people get jobs. She later become director of the Future Jobs Fund in Greater Manchester, securing ₤52 million in funding which went on to help more than 8,000 young people finds jobs. Four years ago she up Transform Lives in Liverpool, a social enterprise working to create work experience opportunities and deliver training to help people gain the skills to get into work.

Says Tracy:- "I knew from the work I'd done for years that even when there is huge economic investment in an area, the wealth doesn't always trickle down to local communities. it's about 'who' benefits from economic growth, not just growth itself.  Any investment as a result of the Northern Powerhouse must put people 1st and that narrative appears to be missing, which is why what we started saying on twitter really hit a nerve.  People are concerned about how growth relates to social justice, inclusion and poverty. We've been inundated with encouragement and support from across the spectrum including think tanks, businesses, charities and local people. Tracy hopes that the event, on 12 July 2017, will help shift the debate and help deliver a Northern Powerhouse which a wider coalition of organisations, voices and backgrounds from across the North have helped shape and which works for everybody. Our hope is that the Peoples Powerhouse brings about a step change in the debate; putting people and communities at the heart of Powerhouse plans, not at the periphery. We're here to support the Powerhouse discussions by talking about people regeneration as well as place regeneration. We definitely need both, they're not mutually exclusive, but when you do one without the other, it's a missed opportunity."

Confirmed speakers and panellists for the event include Big Issue Chief Executive Fay Selvan, Social Enterprise UK Chief Executive Peter Holbrook and BBC North Director Alice Webb.

The event will include a Youth Panel and during the afternoon there will be 'Peoples Panel' workshop sessions on themes including:- skills; health; arts and culture; housing; young people and families; all as a result of suggestions made by local organisations who want to be part of something different.

The aim is to build a long term movement for change that supports good and inclusive growth in the North with a sharp focus on how people need to be at the centre of the debate.

The organisers hope to include all sectors and sections of the community, harnessing the combined skills and leverage of the:- public sector, voluntary, community, civic leaders and business.

The Peoples Powerhouse event takes place on, 12 July 2017, from 10am to 4pm, at Doncaster Rovers Football Ground.  For more information and to register online. Discounts are available including for young people and for small enterprises and charities.

 

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