local economies in Great Britain

Backing the UK

Rebuilding Thriving Local Economies

Through our ‘Rebuilding Thriving Local Economies’ initiative – first launched in 2018 – we are partnering with people and businesses in four pilot ‘local economies’ in different parts of the country. In each, we are listening and building a picture about them as places and looking at ways that we can provide support over and above what we do every day as a bank. Working with others, in communities, we hope to address some of the social and economic challenges caused by the pandemic.

Matt Hammerstein

CEO, Barclays UK

Latest news

Barclays is providing a bespoke support programme to local businesses to help the UK’s economic recovery. The RTLE initiative is offering a package of support to businesses, which includes access to programmes including:

  • For business owners looking to grow or finance new business lines, the Funding Readiness programme is designed to explain the funding options available to entrepreneurs and provide the skills and knowledge needed to fund business growth.
Woman with laptop

Our pilots

We are trialling different types of activity in these pilot areas, which are in different parts of the country, and represent different types of place: a metropolitan area (Bury in Greater Manchester); a town (Kilmarnock in Ayrshire); a rural area (Taunton Deane in Somerset) and a coastal community (Great Yarmouth in Norfolk).

We have chosen these communities because they are each broadly typical of their type of place. Millions of us live and work, and raise families, in places like these. Each have their strengths and each their challenges. What we learn through our activity in these areas will be applicable across the UK.

Taunton Dene

The rural pilot: Taunton Deane

Taunton Deane has been chosen as the bank’s third local economy pilot location as part of its study into different types of communities.

Kilmarnock, Ayrshire

The town pilot: Kilmarnock

With a rich industrial history, there are huge opportunities for Kilmarnock’s workforce to develop their skills and local businesses to grow.


The metropolitan area pilot: Bury

Barclays has been present in Bury, in one form or another, since 1798 when woollen merchants John Grundy and Abraham Wood founded a predecessor bank based in Silver Street.

The coastal pilot: Great Yarmouth

The timing of the launch of the coastal pilot in Great Yarmouth has been affected by the pandemic but the pilot has now launched. Further updates on the progress being made will be available soon. 

How the pilots work

Barclays works on the ground every day with MPs, local authorities, charities, community groups, business groups, individual business owners and millions of individual customers.

Using our relationships with partners like these, who care passionately about their local community, Barclays is focusing activity in four important areas: what we’ve called our ‘four pillars’ of a thriving local economy. 

Thriving Local Economy pillars

Understanding the local economy

Using a combination of research, internal insights and stakeholder engagement to understand the needs of the local economy and target effective interventions. 

Skills and training

Working with education providers, business groups and employment agencies to deliver activities to fill the skills and training gaps identified through research. 

Aspiration and confidence

Working with young people approaching the world of work and adults already engaging in the labour market to help give them aspiration for the future and the confidence to achieve their goals. 

Growing businesses

Working directly with businesses, business groups and local business leadership, helping businesses grow through targeted effective interventions. 

Over the course of the year we will launch targeted activity to help better understand the economy; to develop the skills base of local people through programmes of training and support; drive greater aspiration and confidence among young people and those seeking work and in giving small businesses information and support to manage through the challenges of COVID and, ultimately to grow.

Providing the economic view

The independent think tank, Demos Projects, has conducted research to find the characteristics of what makes a thriving local economy. The report ‘Thriving Local Economies: A Review of What is Known’ analyses existing data and research about geographic economic disparity in the UK as well as giving an overview of the key pillars for achieving local economic growth.

Thriving Local Economies: A Review of What is Known by Philip Collins, Demos Projects (PDF 1.33MB)

For each pilot area a report with the aim of understanding the local economy has been written: 

Bury Commission on Life Chances (PDF 1.2MB)

Taunton Deane Life Chances Report (PDF 491KB)

Kilmarnock Life Chances Report (PDF 64KB)

Great Yarmouth Life Chances Report (PDF 550KB)

At the end of each year Demos Projects has written a report which details progress made, an evaluation of the project and insights: 

Demos Project Annual Report 2020 (PDF 266KB)

For more information, email: thrivinglocaleconomies@barclays.com