USE-IT: Unlocking Social and Economic Innovation Together!

Unlocking Social and Economic Innovation Together! (USE-IT!) is a fantastic Birmingham-based initiative to bring together people and their community assets.  It helps residents to maximise employment, social, educational and well-being opportunities in the areas between and including Ladywood and Summerfield, and Cape Hill and Smethwick.

Partners including BVSC and other voluntary and community sector organisations, the Initiative for Social Entrepreneurs (iSE), Birmingham City Council, Birmingham University, Birmingham City University, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust and Sandwell Council, are engaging with local communities.  Together, they are:

  • Enabling residents with professional health-related qualifications from other countries to access jobs in the NHS, filling vitally needed positions;
  • Providing opportunities for citizens to realise their potential by starting their own businesses;
  • Encouraging those wanting the opportunities to influence local decision-making in planning, community activities and local investments, etc, to access free training to create evidence that will strengthen the resident voice.

These points are just three areas that contribute towards creating happy, resilient and influential communities and neighbourhoods.  Underlying all of these activities is our work in mapping community assets, from people, to informal gatherings to organisations.  We’re joining the dots to enable citizens to know exactly where to go and what to do when they want to make a difference, need help, want to make friends or seek new life opportunities.

The initiative will be run in the community until the end of 2019, thanks to our city winning over £2.5m from the European Union’s ‘Urban Innovative Actions’ Competition.  Urban Innovative Actions supports regeneration approaches that recognise the talents and resources within communities and enable them to secure a lasting positive impact on the lives of city-based residents.  Last year’s competition saw almost 400 applications submitted with 18 winners, including Birmingham- the only UK city to win an award!

USE-IT! presents an exciting, engaging and fun opportunity to Birmingham’s voluntary and community sector organisations.  At the heart of the USE-IT! ethos is the view that our city contains a lot of talent, energy and enthusiasm, and that the more we understand the people and organisations around us, the stronger we’ll all be in partnership. The project also approach the world from a holistic perspective- people need to be contented and happy physically, emotionally, socially, economically and financially.  Strong communities are therefore those that can join up activities that support their members in all of these ways.  Voluntary and community organisations are at the heart of creating a better world and being in the USE-IT! network will help you find new opportunities and like-minded people and teams.

We warmly invite you to get in touch and find out what we can do together.

We look forward to working with you!

Social enterprise and social production: /
Matching jobs skills in the community with NHS demand: / Community researchers:


One comment

  • Julian C Cleaver

    This is very interesting for Cycle Chain;
    Ladywood based social enterprise promoting cycling, cycle maintenance, diy, and trading in refurbed and serviced bikes. we need community volunteers and people to join our committee/management group, and learn the skills of running a bike shop, and looking after our narrowboat bike shop.


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