People’s Powerhouse event to focus on inclusive ‘good growth’

People, organisations, charities and networks from across the north of England are being encouraged to get involved in an upcoming Peoples Powerhouse event which is due to take place in Doncaster on Wednesday 12 July.

The aim of the Peoples Powerhouse event is to inform a dialogue about inclusive, good growth and its potential to transform communities and lives across the north of England.

Until earlier this year the Northern Powerhouse plans and narrative have focused more on transport, infrastructure and business than skills, jobs, the environment and happier and healthier people and communities. The People’s Powerhouse event aims to redress the balance.

The event, originally scheduled for May, will now take place after the general election. The organisers say that it aims to be “a unifying event, helping shape the Northern Powerhouse debate, bringing people together and helping create a Northern Powerhouse which works for everybody.”

Confirmed speakers and panelists 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.

One of the core group organising the event is Tracy Fishwick, managing director of Liverpool-based Transform Lives, an organisation which supports people into employment. Fishwick said: “We’re just one company and there are so many more organisations, groups and people with skills and expertise across the north that could really help bring about a Northern Powerhouse that changes people’s lives for the better.

“Our hope is we can bring about a Peoples Powerhouse movement, starting with the event on 12 July, to deliver 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 – and we are saying we definitely need both. They’re not mutually exclusive.”

Organisers say they are looking to build a long-term movement for change that supports good and inclusive growth in the north with a particular focus on how people are the key to growth. 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.

Fishwick added: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the interest and offers of support. The enthusiasm from people from all sorts of backgrounds has given us the confidence to go for it. We’re starting with the Doncaster event, but that’s certainly not the end of the conversation or the change we want to bring about.”

The day and discussions will span the geography of the north, and not just focus on the largest cities, with the event taking place in Doncaster as a deliberate way of widening the debate to encompass views from across the north of England.

The Peoples Powerhouse event takes place on Wednesday 12 July from 10am-4pm at Doncaster Rovers Football Ground.

Click here for more information and to register.

If you would like to contact Andy Walker about this, or any other story, please email