What can we do on Monday?

Plenary session 2.05 – 3pm

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The closing session of the Community Wealth Building Summit is an important opportunity to reflect on what where we are, what we have learned and, most importantly, focus on where we go next. To this ends, the session is designed around the question “what can we do on Monday?”

The session chair, CLES Associate Director Frances Jones, will ask our speakers to reflect on what they have learned over the course of the week, why is it important to their work and also what they plan to do next to put that learning into action. Following a discussion on emerging themes, we will then turn over the floor to our delegates – the community wealth builders (or aspiring builders!). We will hear what you have learned and how you are going to operationalise that learning to help build a build a fairer local economies that work for people, place and the planet. Finally, our Chief Executive, Sarah Longlands, will close the session and the Summit.


    Vidhya Alakeson is the founding Chief Executive of Power to Change, an independent trust established in 2015 to support the growth of community businesses across England as a means to creating more prosperous and cohesive communities. Vidhya has extensive policy experience, having worked in a number of think tanks and in government in both the UK and US. Prior to setting up Power to Change, Vidhya was Deputy Chief Executive at the Resolution Foundation, a leading public policy think tank working on issues that affect low and middle income families.

Joe Cullinane is the Leader of North Ayrshire Council, and their Cabinet lead for community wealth building. North Ayrshire are the first Community Wealth Building Council in Scotland. Last November they signed the £251 North Ayrshire Growth Deal with all projects adopting the principles of community wealth building, including a £3m dedicated Community Wealth Building Fund. They have also created an Anchor Charter, with 7 local organisations pledging to join North Ayrshire Council in encouraging local spend and investing in local companies whenever possible.

Frances Jones is an Associate Director at CLES. Before joining CLES, Fran’s work spanned local government, civil society and academia. She has developed and delivered local government policy and collaborated on national projects to generate new approaches to place leadership, equality and socially-just devolution. As Associate Director Fran brings expertise in coproduction, community activism and collaboration to CLES’s work on democratising local economies and reshaping public services.

Sarah Longlands is the chief executive of CLES. She is an expert in regional and local economic development and argues for economic and social justice and the creation of places which enable people to live good lives. Before joining CLES in 2021, Sarah was Director of IPPR North, the dedicated think tank for the North of England. She previously worked for CLES until 2011 and began her career in local government, working in County Durham and North Yorkshire. She has a PhD in Urban Studies from the University of Glasgow.

Sarah McKinley is the Director for European Programs for The Democracy Collaborative. In her capacity directing TDC’s European Programs, Sarah is building transatlantic partnerships to develop new community wealth building models and learning exchanges to advance the democratic economy in the United Kingdom and continental Europe. She has a background in community development and has worked with community development organisations at different levels, including the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations in Washington DC.

Debbie Pippard is the Director of Programmes at the Barrow Cadbury Trust. In addition to her role in overseeing the Trust’s programmes, she leads its Economic Justice portfolio, focussing on how local economies can be shaped to benefit local communities.  The Trust has a particular interest in Birmingham and much of its Economic Justice work is located there. Prior to joining the trust, Debbie worked for the Big Lottery Fund, ran a charity and worked in the NHS.