Barclays launches initiative to build thriving local economies

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The FINANCIAL — Barclays is joining forces with local authorities, academics, schools and business groups to boost local economic growth, under a major five-year programme announced on September 20.

The Building Thriving Local Economies initiative has been launched by Ashok Vaswani, Barclays UK CEO, in order to help ensure that every part of the country can fulfil its potential and inform what companies like Barclays can do to help economies to thrive.

Four pilot areas will be created in geographically different parts of the country. One will represent a metropolitan borough, one a rural community, one a coastal area and the fourth a smaller town. In each pilot area Barclays will undertake research and use data to better understand the local economy’s strengths and challenges. The bank will share findings with the local authority, school leaders, business groups and others to build insight and shape actions that they will commit to take in the community – in addition to the everyday products and services they offer – to help build a more thriving economy.

Bury, in Greater Manchester, has been chosen as the first local economy pilot for the programme. Demos Projects and Barclays will be working closely with Bury Metropolitan Borough Council, local schools and colleges, local businesses and business groups.

As a first step Barclays has committed to help build confidence and raise aspirations of school children in Bury by providing a bespoke version of the banks’ LifeSkills programme, which has already helped over 6.7 million young people in the UK, tailored to the local community.


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