VIDHYA ALAKESON

What I am working on at the moment

I am currently the Chief Executive of Power to Change,  an independent foundation based in London established in 2015 to grow community business in England. These are businesses run by local people for the benefit of their local communities. Community business gives back power to local people to improve their lives and the places where they live, particularly in light of the retreat of the public and private sectors from many of our towns and villages. I want to grow the number of community businesses in England and make the concept one that many people see as a solution to the local challenges they face.

Why I wanted to join the Participatory City Global Advisory

I am excited to be part of Participatory City because it shares a similar philosophy that people have the talent, entrepreneurial flair and passion to change the places they live for the better.  Top down approaches to regeneration often fail to deliver lasting benefit because they do not invest sufficiently in local people. The time has come to test out at scale a people-led approach.

A little bit about my background

Before Power to Change, I was Deputy Chief Executive at the Resolution Foundation, a think tank that focuses on improving living standards, at the same time as working freelance to support health and care organisations that wanted to give people greater choice and control. From 2006 to 2010, I worked for the US government in Washington DC and before that for the UK government and several London based think tanks.