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Is small beautiful? Towards a new local democracy

Matt Leach

Sophia Parker

Jessica Studdert

Sacha Bedding

Chair: Danny Kruger MP

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Panel session

Tuesday 24th May, London: 15:50 – 16:45

Supported by Local Trust

What works in community regeneration? When and why do local councils succeed or fail in engaging with local communities? What are best and worst practices? Can you trust local communities with their own direct budgets?


  • Matt Leach: Matt Leach is CEO of Local Trust, the agency that delivers Big Local – the largest ever Big Lottery endowment. Big Local provides over £1m of long-term funding to each of 150 local communities. Prior to leading Local Trust, Matt successfully relaunched longstanding housing charity HACT as a ground-breaking ideas and innovation agency for the housing sector and held a range of senior policy and leadership roles across the public sector.

  • Sophia Parker: Sophia Parker leads a major new programme of work at JRF, to imagine and grow radical new approaches to tackling poverty. She was formerly CEO of Little Village, a London-based charity founded in 2016 that works to tackle child poverty, and has been a Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School.

  • Jessica Studdert: Jessica Studdert leads New Local‘s research programme, writing and speaking about numerous subjects related to localism, devolution, public service reform and local finance. She co-authored the Community Paradigm with Adam Lent which was published in 2019, and was previously political adviser to the Labour Group at the Local Government Association (LGA).
  • Sacha Bedding: Sacha is the manager of the Annexe community centre in Hartlepool
  • Chair: Danny Kruger MP: Daniel Rayne Kruger MBE is a British Conservative Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Devizes in Wiltshire since 2019.

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