Place: Our places of focus - Business in the Community

Place: Our places of focus

The Business in the Community (BITC) Place initiative focuses on eight places. Find out about the work to date and the strategic objectives underway for each of them.

Developing a strong business-led approach
to building trust between business and society

Find out more on how we are making a difference in:


Regeneration by thinking differently and challenging the status quo

Our work to date

In Blackpool,  long-standing barriers between the community, council and businesses have been broken through by establishing the Pride of Place Partnership Board. The board led the formation of a shared vision, the Blackpool Prospectus, and subsequently launched a 2030 Digital Vision, which is sponsored by Atos and led by Cisco.

In 2019 the board succeeded in securing a £39.5 million Town Deal, Chaired by BITC’s Blackpool Director. The Blackpool Town Deal money is the largest single town deal awarded and will enable Blackpool to fund seven infrastructure projects to support the prospectus. 

The Fylde Coast Responsible Business Network has been established. The network is a coalition of local businesses committed to supporting the community. tackling some of the key challenges related to education, skills, unemployment, and workforce resilience.    

Our strategic objectives
  • Deliver our plan to tackle deprivation through Housing, Health, Education​, Communities and Digital.
  • Continue to develop the economy with a focus on job creation.
  • Bring our Digital Vision to life by reducing digital poverty and inequality, improving digital skills, and supporting communities and businesses with digital. 
  • Reduce NEETs (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) by pioneering an approach to developing opportunities for 16-24-year-olds.  
Activity in Blackpool
  • Town Deal – Town Deal – The Blackpool Pride of Place partnership helped to successfully deliver a £39.5m Town Deal with the Government to realise some of its ambitions to develop the economy, as set out in its Town Prospectus. Paul Smith is Chair of the Towns Fund Board, which secured the funding, and continues to work with the government on further funding opportunities. Read the Town Prospectus – Agenda for Action 2030.
  • Born and Bred Network  – The Pride of Place partnership has created a Born and Bred network of alumni. These ambassadors were born or raised in Blackpool, or just have a special interest in the area. This network helps us to persuade and influence national bodies and restore pride in what is the UK’s most famous seaside resort. 
  • Claremont –The Pride of Place has taken a ‘ground up’ community focus in the Claremont Ward of Blackpool. Claremont forms around a quarter of Blackpool’s inner area and suffers from intense deprivation, facing challenges of high rates of unemployment and crime combined with poor health outcomes and low average household incomes. The last two years has seen the development of a strong Claremont team of community residents, public service agencies, business leaders, civil society organisations, young people and council representatives meeting regularly to tackle these issues.
  • Digital Vision – The Blackpool Pride of Place partnership has helped to generate a digital vision and narrative to help improve socioeconomic outcomes for Blackpool and to create better lives. The objective was to launch the Digital Vision publicly, so it can be easily communicated, owned by the Town and projected for profile and growth. This vision aligns with Blackpool’s ‘2030 vision’ in the Town Prospectus. 
    Blackpool’s Trans-Atlantic Connectivity, which connects Blackpool to New York faster than London, will also bring economic opportunities to the town. The cable is an important component of Blackpool’s digital infrastructure. View and download the digital vision and infographic
  • Prince’s 7 for 70 Projects – The Pride of Place is supporting this project, which is one of seven across the UK undertaken by The Prince’s Foundation to coincide with HRH Prince Charles’s 70th birthday in 2018, in a campaign known as 7 for 70. The Fleetwood Trust purchased the largely-vacant former hospital building in 2018 and is now developing a vibrant, sustainable venue for much-needed services and support. The vision includes facilities and flexible spaces for partners from the health care and voluntary sectors working within the Town to support residents’ wellbeing.
  • Responsible Business Network – The Fylde Coast Responsible Business Network (RBN) is a group of businesses committed to supporting the local community. It is already making a difference and has created a thriving network of local businesses to share insight, expertise and knowledge on how to best support the community. Its key campaigns are; helping young people prepare for the world of work, and supporting those farthest from employment, back into work.
Partnership Advocacy

Antony Lockley, Deputy CEO and Director of Strategy at Blackpool Council, recommends the creation of a collaborative and shared agenda among stakeholders.

“The relationship between Council, Business in the Community and our Pride of Place partnership has been of clear and demonstrable value to Blackpool and our shared ambition for the town’s regeneration.  

It is one thing the Council saying something; it is another when an agenda and key messages are conveyed by a willing coalition of public, private and voluntary leaders and representatives. 

Through our partnership we have developed a compelling shared agenda for Blackpool that has won confidence across the political spectrum, from local to national level. This confidence has translated into national government investment in our ambitions.

The advocacy that the partnership has delivered has played a key role in securing several things that Blackpool has been chasing for many years. Examples include signal investments into our resurgent visitor economy through the country’s largest Town Deal, a Civil Service Hub and Multiversity for the town centre, and long overdue reforms to statutory minimum housing standards”.

How you can work with us in Blackpool
  • Join the Blackpool Pride of Place Board to influence and implement our strategy​. 
  • Provide practical support in Blackpool to combat unemployment, workforce resilience and young people’s aspirations​.
  • Help us to deliver our 2030 Digital Vision.
  • For more information contact Laura James.


Becoming a thriving and equitable economy

Our work to date

During this time a cross-sector leadership group has been established to shape and drive the vision.

We have funded a  local development lead to work in Bradford to facilitate partnerships between businesses, local authorities and community organisations. 

In partnership with NatWest, we have launched an SME support programme, specifically focused on ethnic minority and female-led businesses.


Keighley has been selected as the neighbourhood that will receive focused attention, starting with education initiatives. The Keighley Business Together, led by local businesses drives the strategic focus.

Our strategic objectives
  • Galvanise business leaders to support an ambitious vision for Bradford.
  • Focus on Social Mobility and deliver business support to education and community initiatives.
  • Deliver inclusive support to Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) and establish a network to deliver growth.
How you can work with us in Bradford
  • Join the Bradford Builds Back Board to contribute to the strategic direction in Bradford.
  • Support the City of Culture Bid – BITC is helping introduce the bid team to our wider business network to find sponsors and ambassadors.
  • Support social mobility in Keighley – through working with us to provide coordinated support to schools.
  • Mentor SMEs – Provide skills advice to pre-entrepreneur micro and smaller businesses with a focus on ethnic minority and female-led businesses. 
  • For more information contact Farida Zaman, Bradford Local Development Lead


Tackling inequality to provide accessible opportunities for all

Our work to date

A cross-sector steering group, the Coventry Leaders’ Network has been established to set the vision and strategic direction for our work.

We have funded a local development lead to work in Coventry to facilitate partnerships between businesses, local authorities and community organisations. 

The wards of Foleshill and Longford have been identified as focus neighbourhoods. Support for the local food bank network is underway. 

We are coordinating an approach to provide support to every primary and secondary school in the two wards.

A jobs fair hosted by us led to five job offers and eight interviews.

Our strategic objectives
  • Provide holistic community support to the wards Foleshill and Longford to encourage social mobility. 
  • Provide high-quality support to SMEs with a particular focus on female-led and Black, Asian, Mixed race and Minority Ethnic businesses.
  • Provide a coordinated, city-wide approach to education, employment and skills, based on local labour market insights. 
How you can work with us in Coventry


Ensuring that no one is left behind

Our work to date

We have facilitated the successful launch of the town board and Ambassador Group

24.9m has been secured via the town deal funding.

The Kirkley (a district within the town of Lowestoft)  Pantry has been set up to support food poverty. Under review is the next step of opening a cafe to help address the issue of isolation.

Our strategic objectives
  • To tackle the loneliness and isolation endemic in the town.
  • To reduce food poverty.
  • To improve aspirations and achievements in education.
How you can work with us in Lowestoft
  • Consider sponsoring the second planned food pantry similar to the arrangement for the Kirkley pantry with Emcor / Greys Matter


Our work to date

Newport is BITC’s newest place-based initiative and the first to be established in Wales. The programme is supported by Newport City Council and funded by the KLA Foundation and the University of South Wales.

A Strategic Partnership Manager has been employed in the region to facilitate and develop partnerships between the local authority, businesses, and community organisations.

A Steering Committee has also been founded to bring together a wide range of partners and stakeholders to establish and deliver a vision for Newport.

Our strategic objectives
How you can work with us in Newport


Understanding, addressing and preventing loneliness

Our work to date

We work with the Norwich Together Alliance to take a place-based approach to tackle loneliness. Together we campaign for loneliness to be recognised as a major challenge, both nationally and locally.
Our projects include an intergenerational pen-friend project and the launch of the “Chatty Bus” initiative with the University of East Anglia

A broader and strategic focus is now in progress and the convening of a strategic board is in its early stages.

We have a strong relationship with Norwich City Council. We have succeeded in a joint bid for the Community Renewal Fund, which secured £502,000 for us to spend on empowering communities and residents to follow their passions about what they want to learn and do.

We have been listening to the needs of the neighbourhoods and facilitated training and activities in 2022.

Our strategic objectives
  • Convene corporates and local organisations to share insights and knowledge. 
  • Co-create new ideas and solutions to support wellbeing initiatives, tackle loneliness and support communities by working together.  

  • Collaborate to deliver a programme that relies on our collective resources, capabilities, influence, and reach. 
How you can work with us in Norwich
  • Join the Strategic Board to develop the scope and direction for the Norwich Together Alliance. This will help shape Norwich’s vision and provide scrutiny and business insights to community ideas and interventions. 
  • Work with corporates, local organisations and stakeholders to design strategic initiatives, create opportunities and deliver programmes.
  • For more information contact Tracey Drake, Norwich Local Development Lead


Happy, healthy residents with access to jobs and training

Our work to date

A cross-section steering group,  The Rochdale Leaders has been established to set the vision and strategic direction of work within Rochdale.

We have funded a local development lead to work in Rochdale to facilitate partnerships between businesses, local authorities and community organisations. 

Work has begun with the local FE college and secondary schools, to develop a menu of interventions local businesses are able to deliver in schools.

The Rochdale Asian Business Network has been established

Our strategic objectives
  • Build and deliver skills programmes underpinned by an evidence base for local market needs, ensuring inclusivity.​
  • Work with businesses and communities to design manageable ways to tackle climate change and meet the carbon net-zero target.​
  • Focus on health and wellbeing both in the workplace and in communities.

How you can work with us in Rochdale

  • Join the strategic board, helping to shape a vision for Rochdale grounded in business leadership and insights. 
  • Work on education and skills using our partnerships and plug in existing programmes and develop new and interesting insights. 
  • Support Small to Medium size enterprises (SMEs) in Rochdale to become carbon net-zero.
  • For more information contact Lucy Smith- Rochdale Local Development Lead


Brokering cross-sector relationships to tackle the challenge of social mobility

Our work to date:

We had a leading role in establishing and now running Sheffield Business Together (SBT).

SBT’s vision is to bring together like-minded businesses to collaborate, connect, share and harness resources to address some of the key challenges facing the city and our communities.

Since its launch in March 2019, SBT has completed 82 Projects, benefitting over 90 charities, schools and community groups across Sheffield City Region, with a total leveraged value of  £349,000.

We have hosted three diversity and inclusion events attracting over 100 businesses and charities and in 2022, we will be establishing a business diversity and inclusion network to share progressive EDI practices.

Our strategic objectives
  • Skills sharing and mentoring to support sustainability and growth with our voluntary sector partners.
  •  ​ Bringing together educators and employers to improve young people’s aspirations, attainment and/or readiness for the world of work.
  • Collaborative social action projects to address key city challenges.
  • Reduce air pollution in Sheffield, promote recycling and encourage the public to take care of their city.
How you can work with us in Sheffield
  • Join Sheffield Business Together​.
  • Mobilise your employees as volunteers for initiatives such as our job readiness programmes.​


Better transport connectivity and much-needed housing

Our work to date
  • £7.2 million has been invested in a new technology centre at the local college: courses focus on local needs and Anglian Waters supply chain guaranteed interviews for graduates.
  • Wisbech is the largest English town not connected to a rail network. Led by the Wisbech 2020 partnership, it has now submitted a full business case to Network Rail to reopen the rail line.
  • Created the cross-sector Future Fenland initiative to change land and water management, delivering sustainable growth, environmental prosperity and climate change adaptation.
Our strategic objectives
  • The Future Fens: Integrated Adaptation initiative aims to manage water and land in a new and integrated way, to deliver sustainable growth and environmental prosperity whilst adapting to climate change.
  • Community Support and Levelling Up: homelessness, skills, schools and the built environment.
How you can work with us in Wisbech