The Linwood Community Development Trust (LCDT) is a £2 million turnover venture group founded by six women with the backing of the local community in Linwood, a town of just over ten thousand people in Scotland. Their vision of a community-led local economy drives their work in galvanising bottom up economic development to improve health and wellbeing, reduce social inequalities, and build social capital.
The LCDT came about in response to private sector-led economic development that excluded residents from much of the promised economic benefits and ignored their voices in decision making. Previously, the small town used to rely on employment in one factory which closed in the 1980s.
Efforts started with online petitions and email campaigns protesting local government actions and were continued with extensive consultations over 2 years with 2500 local residents to inform plans for projects to address issues the community identified as being important.
The Trust successfully stimulated local development in line with what local people said they want and need. Successful initiatives include a community owned village (‘Mossedge’) including an all-weather football pitch, centre, theatre, and café and the Roots of Linwood Grocers, which generate local employment and meet local needs.
This work aligns the outcomes of the economy with what local people value. Linwood’s employee-owned small businesses capture and maintain circulation of funds locally – the surplus of which is reinvested in Linwood.
Along with keeping wealth circulating in the community, the LCDT’s progressive development measures have improved health and sense of community and participation in the town.
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