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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Laird

Radical Reformers ep.53: Stronger Things Conference 2023 Special Edition

Updated: Jul 6, 2023

Stronger Things 2023 Special Edition







This episode is a bit different. Last week I attended the New Local #StrongerThings2023 conference. It was an amazing day at the spectacular City of London Guild Hall. I don't know exactly how many people were there in person but it felt like about 600 - the (very large) hall was packed to the brim.


The New Local team very kindly agreed that I could record a podcast at the event. I have never done anything like this before - but I have to say it was brilliant fun and I hope you enjoy the result. The result is a series of mini-interviews with some of the stars of the day and I think provides a great summary of the main discussion points of the day. Interviewees include:


- Jess Studdert, Deputy Chief Exec of New Local

- Immy Kaur, Director of Civic Square

- Emily Morrison, Head of the Institute for Local Studies at the Young Foundation

- Kate Josephs, Chief Exec of Sheffield City Council

- Sophia Parker, Joseph Rowntree Foundation

- Seb Payne, Director of the Onward think tank

- Barry Quirk, Former Council Chief Exec

- Nick Temple, Chief Exec of the Social Investment Business

- Sarah Longlands, Chief Executive of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies

- Jon Alexander, Founder of the New Citizenship Project


I then spent some time reflecting on the day with Prof Donna Hall, who has been the Chair of New Local for the last five years and is a talisman for this empowering communities movement. A true legend.


Donna also reflects on her time as Chair and what’s changed and what hasn’t over the last five years. Donna’s call at the start of the day for a new #rebelalliance really took hold as you will hear from the interviews.


So was this a step-change moment for community empowerment? Maybe - but only if we keep the momentum up. There are clearly enough leaders in positions of local power who get it.


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