Short description
Our project is built around the idea of linking macro assets with micro assets in the community. And as enigmatic as it sounds, it actually is very simple.

We want to make people in the community aware that there are large investment projects at their doorsteps that could bring the opportunity to change their lives. These large projects are our assets (anchor institutions, private capital investments) that form a part of city’s regeneration and the new housing master plan. However, if done without involving people living on the ground these projects carry a risk of alienating poorest communities.

Birmingham Hospital.jpg

The New Midlands Hospital construction site

People from the adjacent communities often feel that they are being threatened by new development projects. We want to break that barrier and prove that the macro assets bring an abundance of opportunities for the local people. The ideas we are currently investigating are an international food market at the new hospital ground, new shops, cafes as well as art, sport, health and wellbeing enterprises and many other businesses that can be located around the new hospital and the new housing development. We will work with the people in the community to raise their ambitions and support them in their journeys to better education, better jobs, new skills, healthier lives that would allow them to co-create their own space and play a leading role in the changing environment.

Our journey so far:

We have set up the most unique and incredibly versatile partnership of organisations and people that deeply care about the future and cohesion of our city. 15 project partners represent higher education, public, private sectors and the third sector. We all work together to deliver an integrated programme of community research, education, employment support, social enterprise creation and social finance.

On 10 April, the partnership started an important task of mapping the assets in the community which we believe is our first step to understanding where we need to focus our attention first. What is important to us is that we look at the incredibly challenging part of our city not as a problem but as an opportunity. The city is full of assets that need to be understood and unlocked.

" People look at deprived area and ask What's wrong with this community? Whereas they should be asking What's right? Because if you start with what's right, you will arrive at a different better solution"

USE-IT! participant Marianne

On 6 April, we have launched the Soho Social Enterprise Network. 40 people gathered around the table representing potential sectors we will be working with: age diversity and ethnicities, criminal justice, social inclusion, third sector, art, computer design, sport and natural environment. The idea is that we support the social enterprises not only to access new markets (although it is definitely our main interest) but also to bring them to the point where they can continue to grow, collaborate and develop clusters.

Birmingham Meeting.jpg


Author: Karolina Medwecka-Piasecka, USE-IT! Project Manager, Birmingham City Council

Other news from this project

USE-IT! Journal 4

USE-IT! Journal 4: The project in its final year

Interim results, lessons learnt and further actions needed....
Jobs for overseas migrants USE-IT

USE-IT! Zoom-In 2: Jobs for overseas migrants

UIA Expert Nils Scheffler shares the project’s insights on how to qualify 180 local overseas migrants to become employees for the British health syste...
Matching medical skills with NHS demand

USE-IT! gets national attention!

The USE-IT! project was the focus of an article in The Guardian last week. Read in the article how SWBH NHS Trust is now running its own programme thr...
USE-IT! Journal

USE-IT! UIA Expert Journal – Progress continues on linking capital investments in deprived neighbourhoods with local communities

Third journal tells us how this complex project is being delivered and how it’s facing its challenges...
Promoting Social Enterprise within the Built Environment

Promoting Social Enterprise within the Built Environment

Through our work on the place-based USE IT project, iSE was delighted to facilitate a marketplace to bring together leading built environment provider...
USE IT zoom in

USE-IT! Zoom-In: Creation of social enterprises

In this first Zoom-In, the UIA Expert Nils Scheffler looked at one key element of the USE-IT! Project: the creation of a community of social enterpris...
City Drive announces Birmingham as a Social Enterprise City

City Drive announces Birmingham as a Social Enterprise City

Last month, USE IT! proudly supported the iSE facilitated CITY DRIVE week long programme of events to raise awareness, promote employment opportunitie...
USE IT journal 2

Implementing the USE-IT project in Birmingham: Find out in the second UIA Expert Journal what activities have been carried out

UIA Expert Nils Scheffler has been collecting the knowledge stemming from the implementation of the innovative solution proposed by the City of Birmin...
Open workshop about food

Feeding our community

The project partners Co-operative Futures, along with iSE and Smethwick CAN, hosted an open workshop to talk about food within our local communities. ...
USE-IT! project

Social entrepreneurs and USE IT! catalysing social change in Birmingham

The Social Enterprise support offered through USE IT! in the last 12 months focused on growing the social enterprise sector, linking local organisatio...
Journal 1 Use IT

USE-IT! Journal 1: Hear from the project’s UIA Expert how it is implementing its bold solution

Get to know better what Birmingham is doing on urban poverty in this UIA Expert journal. ...