Foundational Economy


The Foundational Economy is relevant to both policy-makers and place-makers. Cynnal Cymru works with both to explore and explain why this part of the economy matters to sustainability.

Foundational Economy

Cynnal Cymru facilitates a community of practice on the foundational economy on behalf of Welsh Government. It focuses on core foundational sectors of Food, Social Care and Future Skills.

The FE CoP meets regularly to exchange knowledge, share learning and encourage innovation. A key role is to help broker links between projects and partners from all sectors with a view to practical problem-solving and collaboration. The meetings are member-led and highly participative, with representatives from local authority and housing association backgrounds, training providers, community organisations and third sector networks and Welsh Government officials.

If you would be interested in joining a session or finding out more, please get in contact via


The Foundational Economy Community of Practice started in July 2020 as part of the Welsh Government’s Foundational Economy Challenge Fund. Its aim was to share learning and innovation, build relationships and encourage collaboration.

The Challenge Fund provided support to projects looking to try out new ways to address challenges – some emerging, some age-old – faced by foundational economy businesses or those relying on their services.

These included:

  • the recruitment, retention and skills of the workforce
  • the delivery structures and design of services
  • the recruitment, retention and skills of the workforce
  • the delivery structures and design of services

The aim was to explore a range of solutions that could potentially generate viable, adaptable models that could be scaled up and spread to strengthen local economies and community wealth-building.

Staring in 2019 with an initial 52 projects, it was always expected that some experiments would not succeed and conditions were made even more challenging by the impact of the pandemic.

A community of practice was also however put in place to help capture some of the rich learning and insights generated by all the projects taking part. The examples in the case studies below give a flavour of the projects supported by the Fund – their successes, challenges and above all learning, about how best the foundational economy in their area or sector can be supported. The Fund closed in March 2021 but, at the request of members, the community of practice has continued. Its role continues to be to share learning, encourage and expand dialogue and facilitate collaboration.

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