In July 2018, the E3M partners convened a special Alchemy innovation event to support Oldham Council and its partners in developing ideas for a bold new initiative called ‘Northern Roots’. The project involves harnessing the potential of a currently underused 65-hectare site and a new brand centred on food growing and production. Together they will be a catalyst for community health and wellbeing, new leisure opportunities, skills development, employment, enterprise creation and service transformation.

The Oldham Alchemy event brought together 85 participants and sought to ensure that ‘Northern Roots’ reflects Oldham’s ambition to be a productive and cooperative place with healthy, aspirational and sustainable communities.  The event:

  • shared knowledge about the “art of the possible” with real, successful examples of innovation in social enterprise and service delivery from across the UK.
  • explored ideas for large-scale social enterprises, examining how these could contribute to building an inclusive economy and delivering co-operative services.
  • examined the social impact and value these ideas could deliver, their financial sustainability and the investment or resources they would need.
  • explored how Northern Roots can enable Oldham to develop services that cost less and deliver better outcomes, stimulate local, inclusive, economic growth, and empower and engage local residents in solving problems.

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