In recession or recently post-recession Britain, the dynamic between public, private and voluntary sectors is changing, with all expected to work together to meet our biggest social challenges in a more ‘civic-minded’ partnership. Yet we’re never far away from stories of businesses and other organisations doing the exact opposite.
But when we’re bemoaning the cloning or boarding up of our high streets, ‘McJobs’ replacing careers, a lack of opportunities for young people or those on the margins of society, local suppliers being squeezed or undermined by cheaper imports, we have to ask how our behaviour as consumers is contributing to the scenario.
At the risk of oversimplifying centuries of evolving economic theory, in a supply and demand economy it is we, the consumers, who are in control. Businesses and service providers take a lead from us; if we care enough about something for it to affect our consumer patterns, then the markets will respond. Organics, recycled and Fairtrade goods were initially met with scepticism only for consumer behaviour to take them from the niche margins to the mainstream.
So goodforleeds’ mission is to join the many catalysts to this change in consumer behaviour. We want to find, celebrate and encourage others to value and use the businesses and organisations which give us a social benefit as well as financial profit, which bring prosperity to Leeds as well as themselves. We’ll start in the obvious places; the social enterprises which offer a great product or experience while trying to solve a social problem – from reducing crime and rebuilding lives to using local suppliers and paying a living wage. But we’re leaving the definition loose because we want to be surprised, challenged and to learn what ‘good for Leeds’ really means.
We need your help, which you can give to us in one of three ways:
Recommend a business or service which is ‘goodforleeds’. If you don’t have the time to contribute, tell us about the enterprises, businesses or services we should be taking a closer look at.
Contribute We need a stable of contributors spread across the city who can use a new business or service every month or two, but we are more than happy to get one-offs, especially if they’re in areas of the city or types of product we’re yet to feature.
You’ll need to do a little more than report the consumer experience; we need to know about the quality, accessibility and value for money of the product, but we also need to find out a bit more about what makes the organisation special. Don’t be put off if you’ve never blogged, reported or interviewed anyone before; we have and we’re able to help.
Comment Join the conversation. Tell is if you think we’re right or wrong; if we’re brilliant or barking up the wrong tree; or whether we’re closing your eyelids rather than opening your mind.
Get in touch through email email@example.com , twitter @good4leeds or simply give us a quick post telling us why you love the business or service in the good for Leeds directory and map.