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Black Country Communities in the Lead

Partnership information



Black Country Communities in the Lead (LEAD) is about developing the skills needed for people to live, work, and develop within their geographical or interest community. LEAD has been enabling local people to participate in the decisions that affect them, developing community businesses, social enterprises and taking part in the democratic system. Lead has been identifying new models of working that will feed into the 30 year strategy developed by the Black Country Consortium, inform the LSC Strategic Area Review, develop the Stakeholder Survey and knowledge economy, feed into e-democracy leaving a sustainable social capital that will inform governance.

The partnership includes voluntary, public and private organisations which recognise the importance of working with the community such as Walsall Primary Care Trust and the local colleges.


The aim of LEAD is to work with communities to generate ideas and businesses from the bottom upwards in order to develop new and sustainable community and social enterprises.  Community Animateurs have been playing an important role making vital links between the community and the projects within LEAD.

The aim is also to see how different approaches to business support can help facilitate the establishment of enterprises. 


  1. Develop knowledge rich communities empowered to take decisions about their own lives and community through building social capital and supporting the setting up of social enterprises
  2. Develop a common understanding of how social enterprise can contribute to regeneration of neighbourhoods and support the local labour market through developing 10 social enterprise pilots.
  3. Develop a common understanding of how social enterprise can contribute to the integration of communities of interest within local communities and the labour market, by sharing good practice
  4. Develop empowerment, knowledge and skills within communities, developing new ways of encouraging communities to be involved in local, national and European government issues, and social enterprise networks.  A main vehicle for this objective is the use of IT.  The key objective here is to enable people to be more aware of the governance issues which affect their work and lives, thereby enabling them to access the networks and services they need to carry out the development of social enterprises or self employment.
  5. Develop a series of training courses targeted at a range of people including ethnic minorities, women, people with disabilities, mental health service users and unemployed people.  The content focuses on developing the skills needed to form and run social enterprises and improve the quality of jobs available locally. 
Target groups

Disadvantaged geographical and interest communities, people with disabilities, BME groups, Asian women, people with mental health problems  



Round 1 to Round 2

The Learning Kitchen in Round 1 was designed to find out how to engage people into learning using a variety of different hooks. R2 is working from a community perspective rather than at individual level, looking at how to develop community businesses and social enterprises as a job creation tool.

Transnational partnerships


Anthony Walters, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council,


Action 2: 30 September 2007
Action 3: 31 March 2008

Equal theme

Social economy


The Black Country Consortium has existed for a number of years prior to the EQUAL initiatives. The consortium brings together pubic and private sector organisations who are working to regenerate the Black Country. Partners within the consortium formed the backbone of the DPs for Round 1, and now Round 2, bringing other partners in along the journey.


BME groups, Jobseekers with low basic skills, Lone parents and people with care responsibilities, People from disadvantaged areas (top 10% most deprived wards), Unemployed
Total beneficiaries: 350

Intended impact/ sustainability

Black Country LEAD is establishing proven methods of engaging with very hard to reach communities in order to sow the seeds of building community enterprises as a way of funding their own organisational or individuals' objectives, as an alternative or augmentation to other sources of funding (eg grants, project funds)

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At a sub-regional level 2 areas have engaged community aminateurs as a way of engaging with particular local communities to introduce community enterprise as a way of funding the organisations objectives, as well as engaging individuals in the labour market e.g. working with Sikh temples, mosques and other faith organisations.


Level 1 toolkit for developing socual enterprise is being trialled within the partnership. Depending on the feedback, this toolkit could be used across the region to support community enterprise work.

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Activities and products