Doughnut Economics Blog

SoCAN has secured funding to work with researchers at the University of Southampton to develop the network and to run a series of evaluated workshops exploring Doughnut Economics.

Here you will find write-ups of each event along with links to further reading and information.

Imagine Southampton - a thriving and flourishing city: 

The potential of Doughnut Economics and Community Wealth Building - 1st March 2024

Southampton Climate Action Network (SoCAN) is a coalition of environmental groups and green businesses working together for a sustainable, thriving city. In 2023 we were successful in bidding for research funding for a co-created project with our academic partners, Dr Matt Ryan and colleagues at the University of Southampton. 

Part of our research journey was to ask the question: ‘What if…there were alternative economic models which could promote thriving and flourishing in Southampton?’ As well as learning about Doughnut Economics we discovered the Southampton Pound and the Preston Model - both promoting the idea of Community Wealth Building and “a safe and just space for humanity” as possible solutions.

Doughnut Economics

Could these ideas present solutions to the dire economic situation in Southampton, where billions in value of goods pass through the city each year but statistics show we are one of the poorest cities in the UK? 

IMD (2019) Analysis of changes since 2015 (

The ‘anchor institutions’ (local authority, the universities, health service, large corporates, etc) are candidates for the redirection of some of their massive procurement spend towards local businesses. They could choose to purchase selected goods and services from local companies. They could also map out gaps in local provision which could be filled by the creation of new community-owned businesses. What if such a collaboration could become a possibility, bringing decent jobs and greater prosperity to the city?

Southampton Pound logo

The last event of our year-long research project was a SoCAN run workshop in partnership with Southampton City Council and Hampshire Chamber of Commerce. This gave  participants an opportunity to explore these complementary ideas and to imagine: 

  • How they might be utilised to provide more support to local businesses, through adjustments to the procurement policies of the biggest companies and organisations in the City
  • And in particular, looking through the lenses of Doughnut Economics as a way of locating the necessary steps to consider the environmental and ecological impact of those choices before decisions are made.

The workshop took place on 1st March 2024, attended by nearly 50 people, representing a wide cross-section of professionals and volunteers in sustainability, business, arts and culture, social enterprise, academia, health and community/environment groups. 

Sector colours

Presentations were given by:

  • Cllr Sarah Bogle, Cabinet member for Economic Development at Southampton City Council
  • Cllr Matthew Brown, Leader of Preston City Council
  • Leonora Grcheva, Cities and Regions Lead, Doughnut Economics Action Lab
  • Jane Cox and Emma Williamson, Policy Officers, Cornwall Council and 
  • Ross McNally, CEO, Hampshire Chamber of Commerce

Between them they described many aspects of what it’s like to implement both Community Wealth Building and Doughnut Economics within a local authority, and the great outcomes this can bring to decision-making that respects planetary boundaries and the social foundation locally. You can find out more about these different approaches by following the links given below.

Table conversation

Cross sector groups exploring how Doughnut Economics & Community Wealth Building could work in Southampton (Photo credit: Alice Louisa)

What people said about the workshop 

Ross McNally: ‘The workshop provided a great opportunity to see how the community across Southampton can come together in harnessing its skills and ambition addressing some long standing needs. It developed a positive sense of purpose for community action working with a range of stakeholders towards the sustainable development of our place with the people who live and work there at the heart of the solution. The Chamber of Commerce is excited to get involved’

Sarah Bogle: I really enjoyed the workshop which brought together a great mix of engaged Southampton people. The energy in the room was high and it gave me hope that together we can change things in the city and realise more of the residents and the city’s potential in doing so.  I talked about the ‘Southampton Pound’, how to keep more wealth in the local economy and tackle the inequality that is holding us back.  ‘Good things happen when you spend local’.

“Well done, a really great event.” 

“It seems that we are on a cusp of some fantastic change in Southampton, which will succeed if communities are equal partners in the journey. And if environmental limits, and meeting social needs informs all our decisions.”

“For Oylr, the workshop offered insights how our data analytics and change management services could support community-focused sustainability efforts. It provided a platform for learning and potential collaboration, emphasising the role of data in supporting Southampton’s path to sustainable development.”

“It is all about making happen now and by coming together to talk possibilities it is a step in the good direction, now it is everyone #responsibility to translate it in action. 💪”

Next steps

Workshop participants expressed great enthusiasm and a clear desire for future collaboration on taking these ideas forward in their different spheres of work. Cllr Sarah Bogle and Ross McNally agreed to work together to share these ideas further in the City. 

SoCAN is currently making a film about the ideas in the workshop for sharing with a wider audience and this will be launched in the next couple of months.

SoCAN and its membership will continue its role of highlighting how the various decision-making processes in the City can be enhanced by greater collaboration with the environmental groups and businesses the network represents - and using the power of imagination!

Please forward this blog to colleagues who may be interested. We hope to be able to bring you an update on progress over the next few months - please respond to Liz Batten at with any news that can be included.

Further reading

Southampton Climate Action Network - and Sustainability Directory

DEAL - Doughnut Economics

CLES - Community Wealth Building

The Southampton Pound

The Preston Model

Cornwall Development and Decision Wheel - Cornwall Council

Hampshire Chamber of Commerce

Imagine Southampton report

Imagine Southampton film


Our thanks to all the speakers, participants and helpers at the workshop - From surviving to thriving: building a sustainable economy in Southampton on 1st March 2024.

And thanks to our funders, University of Southampton, Centre for the South and Southampton Collective.

Liz Batten and Irene MacWilliam

Southampton Climate Action Network

March 2024

2023 Workshops

University of Southampton's Social Impact Lab Climate Action Workshop, Wednesday 17 May, 2023

At this event Liz Batten (SoCAN Project Supervisor) and Tammy Oliver (Workshop Facilitator) presented a workshop on Doughnut Economics as part of the University of Southampton's Social Impact Lab event 'Climate Action Workshop’. It was a full house with a good mix of students and visitors from the community. The event was fast paced, fun and informative, resulting in lots of conversations about climate action and doughnut economics. Liz and Tammy’s presentation set up the theme for the workshop. Other projects that featured included Repair Café/ Transition Southampton (local case study), renewable energy company (national case study) and solar power project for a school in Lebanon called Powering Education, Empowering Children (international case study). The presentations were interspersed with time to have conversations in pairs or small groups about ideas generated, which were then shared with the whole room.

Social Impact Lab Photo

Liz Batten, SoCAN Project Supervisor presenting at University of Southampton's Social Impact Lab event 'Climate Action Workshop’. (Photo courtesy of Tammy Oliver) 

Links to case studies featured in workshop
Repair Cafés (local case study)
Powering Education, Empowering Children (international case study) 
University of Southampton Social Impact Lab 

What alternative economic models are there for a better future? 
Thursday 25 May, October Books 

An event exploring alternative economic models, in particular the work of Adam Smith. Professor Jonathan Conlin gave some fascinating insights into how Smith’s work has been co-opted and distorted by neoliberal economics. Dr Arvind Sivaramakrishnan gave a response. Liz Batten (SoCAN Project Supervisor) introduced Doughnut Economics and Nathan Brown spoke about social enterprise and the cooperative model of running businesses.

October Books Alternative Economics

Liz Batten, SoCAN Project Supervisor presenting at 'What alternative economic models are there for a better future?' in October Books. (Photo courtesy of October Books) 

Further information and reading on Doughnut Economics
DEAL – Doughnut Economics Action Lab
Leeds Doughnut
Civic Square – A Public Square/ Neighbourhood Economics Lab/ Creative + Participatory Ecosystem
The Alternative - Safe and Just Earth System Boundaries
October Books

Can Doughnut Economics future-proof Southampton?
Saturday 8 July 2023, Friends Meeting House

A free participative workshop designed to introduce a broad audience to Doughnut Economics, how the models works and how we can all use it to create a safe and just space for humanity and the planet. The event was held at the Friends Meeting House in Southampton City Centre. On the day we had 25 people join us from across Southampton as well as further afield from the New Forest and Andover.

Step into the Doughnut

Step into the doughnut exercise 

The workshop started with a primer explaining what SoCAN is, our work, which dovetailed into our interest in Doughnut Economics and asking everyone to watch an introductory video of Kate Raworth’s TED talk from 2018. We then moved on to an ice breaker involving the whole group participating. We laid out a rope on the floor of the room and asked everyone to “step into the doughnut” an exercise that helps people to understand the model better and connect it with their lives, their communities, and the natural world in an interactive and experiential way. Crafty doughnut

 Notes from the Crafty Doughnut Group discussion part of Open Space Market Place

We then heard from Clare Diaper who presented the story of October Books development as a real life local example of Doughnut Economics in action. After lunch Mandi Bissett shared information about Doughnut Economics happening nationally and internationally (see links to case studies below).

The final section was led by facilitator Tammy Oliver setting up an 'Open Space Market Place', which involved all the workshop participants in a joint agenda setting activity. Anyone could raise a key issue or opportunity from the morning’s Doughnut Economics theme, which they wanted to take further and  discuss in small groups. After discussion the individual groups then fed back on the ideas, which included – Crafty Doughnut Group, Community Composting, Portable Information Stand, Southampton Doughnut Coalition, Total Recycling and Wooden Bikes. The day closed with a reflection on what we had discussed and we moved into informal networking.


Infographic by Tammy Oliver 

Please email if you would like to be connected to the ideas that were developed in the workshop or would like to be part of any future conversations about Doughnut Economics.

Further information and links to resources shared in the workshop 

Ted Talk – Kate Raworth – A healthy economy should be designed to thrive, not grow 

DEAL – Doughnut Economics Action Lab  

Book by Kate Raworth – Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist – order via October Books 

Organisations and cities on their Doughnut Economics journey 

Civic Square, Birmingham, UK

Leeds Doughnut, UK 

Cambridge Doughnut, UK

Glasgow, UK 

Cornwall, UK 

Devon, UK 

Brussels, Belgium 

The Amsterdam City Doughnut 

Melbourne, Australia

Contact the Southampton Climate Action Network