The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the West Midlands from a health and wellbeing, and an economic standpoint.
The region’s civic leaders have responded to this landscape by submitting the £3.2bn “Recharge the West Midlands” investment case to government in June, which outlines a three year plan for recovery, as well as “levelling up the West Midlands: our roadmap to community recovery and prospectus to government” which outlines 41 examples of good practice, 27 shared ambitions for recovery, 29 asks of government and 15 initial areas for future collaboration. Of the asks of government, over £2bn of these were set out in the WMCA Recharge the West Midlands prospectus for transport, affordable housing and skills programmes and these are repeated here. A further £203m is requested for programmes of work directly associated with community recovery on issues such as digital inclusion, radical health prevention and access to green spaces.

The West Midlands has also seen an incredible response from mutual aid, faith and community groups, neighbourhood groups and the social economy and this report focuses on the response and experiences of this broad and diverse sector. Without their contribution to the collective and urgent response to the crisis, both in its initial stages and on into the ‘new normal’, the health and economic situation would have been far worse, and the impact on public finances more severe. The key question guiding our research was: How has civil society and the social economy responded to the crisis and what needs to be taken forward or further developed as we move into a ‘new normal’ way of working?

This report brings together the learning and insight gained from a review of the civil society and social economy response across the West Midlands Combined Authority area, based on engagement with frontline organisations and strategic stakeholders carried out in August-September 2020. We present a set of detailed case studies that highlight innovation, enterprise and flexibility. Our framework draws attention to the diversity and timeliness of the civil society and social economy response, pointing the way to how public agencies, WMCA and their partners can best support the sector in the future.

Download the report:  wmcafullreportsocecon_jan2021.pdf