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New Pioneers launch event

The New Pioneers: RBH and RSA launch pioneering programme to support local residents in central Rochdale

RBH and the RSA have set out plans for a pioneering new approach to support residents in Rochdale town centre to improve their skills and find better and more secure jobs.

The "new pioneers programme" (NPP), is a collaboratively designed new support programme for residents in Lower Falinge and College Bank. The programme has three mutually supporting elements, which together provide the opportunity for lasting change. These are:

  • A new pioneers income: a basic income instead of existing benefits, providing financial stability and flexibility for participants to allow them to plan long-term for their career and their future.
  • A new pioneers space: a community space, integral to the wider physical regeneration of the neighbourhoods, where the programme can be based.
  • Dedicated careers brokers, providing intensive and personalised support to participants.

The Programme will be aimed at working-age adults living locally in College Bank and Lower Falinge who are either working part-time already or out of work on Employment and Support Allowance or Carer’s Allowance. The programme would provide intense support and a basic income for participants for 12 months and initially intends to run for three years to provide support up to 120 New Pioneers.

This proposed new and innovative approach was set out on Friday 14th September at a special event held at the Pioneers Museum in Rochdale; RBH's Director of Growth Clare Tostevin was joined by special guest speakers Andy Burnham (Mayor of Greater Manchester), Matthew Taylor (Chief Executive, RSA), Katie Schmuecker (Head of Policy, Joseph Rowntree Foundation), and Richard Tang (founder and Chief Executive of Rochdale-based Zen Internet). The event was chaired by the RSA’s Ed Cox.

RBH and the RSA are looking to implement and fund this initial phase collaboratively, and today’s event was held with local public bodies, national government, and philanthropic and social investors, all of whom have an interest in testing the merits of the new approach.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said at the meeting:

“Our Greater Manchester housing providers don’t see themselves as just housing providers – they are place makers. They are about people and about building strong communities. Real change starts with projects like this.”

Ed Cox, director of public services and communities at the RSA, said:

“Investing in physical infrastructure like our housing is critical in addressing poverty, but often the human investment is overlooked. Our proposals seek to change all that. It’s time to innovate and show the world that Rochdale, which created the cooperative movement, is the home of radical ideas and action.”

Clare Tostevin, RBH Director of Growth, said:

"Our proposals for Rochdale town centre are about the people who live and work there. We're really proud to launch our New Pioneers Programme, which is intended make a real difference to the life chances of local residents as part of growth and opportunity in Rochdale and Greater Manchester."

For more information about RBH's plans for College Bank and Lower Falinge, please visit

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