Oh my goodness, it was EPIC!  We partnered with Plymouth Social Enterprise Network and Essence of Exeter, along wth Torbay Community Development Trust, Colab Exeter and Pop+, to organise the biggest conference on economic regeneration Devon has ever seen. There were 30 speakers and facilitators over three days – July 7-9, and 635 people registered from local authorities and social enterprises, activists, organisers, interested citizens, NGOs, and schools. Recordings are available, here.

And afterward, the ripples are still rippling.

Some key takeaways:

  • £1billion every year leaks out of our regional economy – all of Devon, including Torbay and Plymouth – through London-based banks. The South West Mutual would be a regional, community-facing bank that could help to plug that leak. And the mutli £billion Devon County Council managed pension fund could easily reinvest part of their assets into this and other regional and municipal banks with a similar model.
  • Everyone is interested in #BuildBackBetter. Councils are trying to figure how they can play a useful role adopting ‘Community Wealth Building’ (CWB) and ‘Doughnut Economics’ as frameworks to partner with citizen groups, enterprises and enterprise networks, community development NGOs, climate action groups, and the similar organisations. We have a good relationship with our council and TDA and will be doing our part to help us recover and build long-term economic resilience.
  • Regenerative economics entered the lexicon and is becoming a useful frame for CWB, Doughnut, social enterprise, green new deal, and other ‘flavours’ of new economic thinking and practice. It’s even the name of the Schumacher College MA programme.
  • Words and phrases repeated over and over, helping themes of a regenerative economics to emerge: ‘love’, ‘life’, ‘inclusion’, ‘meeting everyone’s needs’, ‘everyone’s voice’, ‘connection’, ‘collaboration’, ‘currency of care’, ‘resilience’, ‘agency’, ‘giving ourselves permission to change things’, ‘together’, ’empathy’, ‘conversations’, ‘relationships’, ‘bravery’, ‘courage’.
  • And SHDC Councillor Joseph Rose performed an original song live!


It proved to be the beginning of the next phase of economic transformation in this region. Remember the ‘Devon Convergence’ of 2017 that led to the founding of Local Spark? We should expect more such initiatives to spark off from the 2020 edition of Regenerate Devon Summit. What will happen in 2021? If you want to get involved, let us know. In fact, if you’re interested in organising a similar event focused solely on Torbay, let us know. 🙂