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BootstrapSocial entrepreneurs gather for major event in Hebden Bridge

Friday, 28 April 2017

The whole community is invited to the Calder Valley’s first ever celebration of the “solidarity economy”.

Social entrepreneurs will gather at Hebden Bridge Town Hall on May 5 for Bootstrap, a new event designed to enable charities, businesses and individuals to support each other.

Demain audience

A showing of the film Demain at the Trades Club in February
kickstarted the Bootstrap project

Tickets are still available for this major event, which will see representatives from local projects with an social or environmental purpose pitch to the public. The community will then offer support to their favourite enterprises, which could mean anything from help with book keeping or cleaning to promises of land or money.

Organisers say the event will enable individuals, sole traders, microbusinesses, partnerships and the self-employed to find new ways to work together and support each other, and will help established business “go to the next level”.

Lively, fun and inspiring

“It will be lively, fun and packed with inspiring ideas,” said Bootstrap co-founder Mark Simmonds of Heptonstall. “The community gets to ask the pitchers questions and pledge support. We want people to come along, see what’s going on and get involved.

“This event is for everyone. The solidarity economy is a vision for a just, sustainable economy where people matter. It’s an idea that’s gaining momentum internationally.”


The day comprises two parts. The afternoon session, from 1pm until 5pm, will be a celebration of existing socially and environmentally responsible business. There will be a chance to network, a platform for local social entrepreneurs to talk about what they are doing and an exploration of the “solidarity economy” concept.

Community of dragons

The evening session, from 6.30pm until late, will see five local social enterprises take to the stage to share their plans. The audience - the "community of dragons" - will then pledge to support their development in a variety of interesting ways.

Bootstrap has lined up five community-based enterprises to pitch, covering waste diversion, community housing, occupational therapy and heritage crafts, citizen science and social care.

The 5 pitching enterprises are:

Noisy Toys, Careshare, Calder Valley Community Land Trust, TurnAcre, Real Junk Food Project Calderdale


Speakers include Rob Hopkins of the Transition Network, Andy Goldring of the Permaculture Association and Kat Darling of the Institute of Solidarity Economics. A locally sourced meal will be provided by community chef Kath Baker of Peas and Love Catering.

Alternatives to conventional economics

Mark Simmonds said: “Bootstrap aims to highlight the alternatives to conventional economics in the face of climate change, economic failure and energy and other resource crises. We’re building on the success of similar events organised by movements around the world.

“We’ll provide food, a bar and entertainment. If it goes well, we’ll do it again next year.”

Tickets for both sessions are available here, priced £10 per session (£5 concs).

About Calderdale Bootstrap

The upper Calder Valley has one of the greatest concentrations of co-ops in the UK, along with countless sole traders, microbusinesses, partnerships and self-employed people. These enterprises can help other enterprises grow.

Calderdale’s recovery following recent flooding is testimony to its resilience. Bootstrap aims to enable existing creative, caring and practical networks grow even stronger.

They are a group of entrepreneurs, co-operators, activists and changemakers, looking to engage our community to co-create our next economy.

The Calderdale Bootstrap steering group:

Ben Oubridge – Valley Organics
Sue Mellis – Hebden Bridge Annual and the Egg Factory
Mark Simmonds – Co-op Culture and Pennine Community Power
Tom Henfrey – Schumacher Institute and Calder Shamanics
Dave Brooks – Hebden Hostel and LED Fantastic
Marie-Claire Kidd – journalist on environment, food, health and community

More info


Marie-Claire Kidd 07886 633328 or

Mark Simmonds 07419 991506