Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium was the setting for the first ever People’s Powerhouse event, 12 July. The gathering attracted 250 delegates and aimed to change the debate around the Northern Powerhouse plans, putting people and communities at the centre.
There was plenty of passionate debate and learning-based workshops on issues such as social inclusion, inclusive growth, housing, city region devolution and how culture can improve the lives of the people in the North.
Speakers and panellists at the day-long event included Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, Turning Point chief executive Lord Victor Adebowale, Big Life Group and Big Issue North chief executive Fay Selvan, PWC Partner Karen Finlayson and Social Enterprise UK chief executive Peter Holbrook. There were also passionate speakers on the youth panel.
“I think we can send a real economic signal that the North of England does not survive on the whim of the South but that we are a driver of the economy,” Adebowale said.
PWC Partner Karen Finlayson added: “We don’t want things to happen to us anymore, we need to roll our sleeves up, get stuck in and take some more risks. We might not always get it right, but without taking some steps forward we won’t get the change we all want.”
The People’s Powerhouse movement was the brainchild of Tracy Fishwick, MD of Transform Lives based in Liverpool and Doncaster Council chief executive Jo Miller who noticed a lack of female representation in the speakers for the Northern Powerhouse Conference.
This evolved into bigger discussions about who the Northern Powerhouse was for and what it was setting out to achieve and the People’s Powerhouse idea was born.