The steering group, made up of representatives from the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, Lincolnshire Co-op, the Lincolnshire Community Foundation and other local organisations identified gaps in the current understanding of the sector that required exploration. Research conducted by Professor Nigel Curry, along with Kay Purle from the Lincolnshire Open research and Innovation Centre at Bishop Grosseteste University (funded by the Research England Strategic Priorities Fund and Lincolnshire County Council) was used to draw up a comprehensive report detailing the circumstances of the social economy sector as whole and more specially within Greater Lincolnshire. The report includes a review of the social economy as an important feature of the wider economy and uses data on various types of organisation to detail the size, scope and make up of the social economy locally. Qualitative research was also undertaken with local social economy organisations to highlight key issues within the sector, including areas of difficulty and potential areas for development.
The findings of this research have been used to draw up a comprehensive strategy for the social economy of Greater Lincolnshire based around Cultural Change, Shared Principles, Administration, campaigns of Information & Persuasion, the use of Financial Incentives and facilitating Action Projects.
As a result of this piece of work, BG Futures, the onsite Business and Enterprise Centre at Bishop Grosseteste University, has re-launched as The Lincolnshire Social Economy Hub, offering physical and virtual office space for social economy organisations. BG Futures has also developed the Greater Lincolnshire Social Economy Academy which offers support for the sector via courses and workshops. The Academy will also lead on a series of debates on the social economy as identified via the research report.