Halifax Courier, 1997
by Michael Peel

     Staff have now been appointed for a national project in Halifax
which aims to find new ways to rejuvenate local economies.
     The Forum for the Future, a charity funded by the country's
leading green campaigners, has set up its regional office at Dean
Clough Business Park at a cost of #220,000.
     Working closely with Calderdale Council, the forum will study the
best ways of creating jobs and prosperity throughout the UK and
     The council's Labour leader Coun. Pam Warhurst said it was
tremendous for Calderdale to be chosen as the base for the project
which would help bring the area widespread recognition and benefits.
     Project officers Mr. Les Newby, of Leicester, and Ms. Helen
Hudson, of Rochdale, will begin their work next month.
     According to the forum's executive director, Mr. Rupert Howes,
modern economic policy is failing to tackle the needs of areas like
Calderdale which have seen a dramatic decline in traditional
industries such as textiles and engineering.
     "While service sector jobs have increased, West Yorkshire still
suffers from a persistent level of long-term unemployment, especially
among young people in inner cities," said Mr. Howes.
     "conventional development policies cannot possibly reach all
these people and at the same time opportunities to create wealth and
jobs in the local economy continue to go begging.
     "This project is designed to help build up local economies in a
sustainable and environmentally responsible way which employs the
people and resources that the global market has bypassed."
     One of the reasons the forum has chosen to come to Calderdale has
been success of the pioneering Local Exchange Trading System LETS
which involves purchases being paid for by "favours" rather than
     Recycling projects, credit unions, community transport and
agriculture schemes, and cooperative businesses are some of the other
ways to which more and more people are turning to create wealth.
     "Inevitably, a lot of this is pretty hit and miss and many
schemes are very short=lived or seriously under performing," said Mr.
     "It needs a coherent strategy for reinforcing all the voluntary
enthusiasm and community enterprise which underpins so much local
economic activity."
     The officers at Dean Clough will collect and analyse national and
international information about good practice for economic development
and produce a final report at the end of three years.
     "This will set out both a fully-fledged model and an operational
tool-kit for the sustainable reinvigoration of local economies."
     Kirklees and Wakefield Councils, charitable trusts and businesses
are also backing the project which is headed by one of the country's
best known environmentalists, Mr. Jonathan Porritt.

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