Spark Change! Firestarters first annual impact report
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Spark Change! What we learned from the first year of Firestarters

Spark Change; the first annual Firestarters impact report

After launching during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns, Firestarters has now hosted its first year of online events – aiming to improve the social impact of businesses in the Liverpool City Region (LCR). The key takeaways from all seven 2021 sessions have now been summarised in their annual Spark Change! Report; gathering all the findings and talking points from the community’s discussions.

What is Firestarters?

Firestarters is a community of changemakers putting purpose before profit. Through live events with actionable next steps, we gather together inspiring people from the private, public, and third sectors to discuss how we can make positive action happen in the LCR. 

What is included in the Spark Change! report?

The Firestarters events covered a wide range of topics, including Building Back Equal 1, 2 and 3 – which focused on economic recovery post-pandemic – Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace, Establishing an Ethical Framework for Personalised Care, Is This The North? and Zero Carbon Liverpool. 

Some key partnering companies came on board to deliver the sessions; including:

We encouraged contributions from attendees and panelists to source opinions, challenges and opportunities across the Liverpool City Region. Some key takeaways from the events were:

  • Black people in LCR are paid £1.10 an hour less than other employees
  • The Liverpool City Region has more economically-inactive people than almost any other part of the country 
  • The increase in home working will lead to local businesses thriving
  • 78% of people wouldn’t trust surveys on Mental Health and Wellbeing in the workplace in case it got back to their employer

The 2021 Firestarters events

After realising that in the past too much focus has been placed on profit; with businesses paying little attention to the environment and people around them, Firestarters was launched. A purpose-driven business networking community that truly values diverse voices was what Liverpool City Region was crying out for.  We began as online-only networking events in the depths of the COVID-19 lockdowns. 

Building Back Equal 1: Inclusive Economic Recovery from Covid-19

‘Building Back Equal 1’ was designed to bring ethical business leaders together to explore the recovery of the LCR economy after Covid-19. The lockdowns disproportionately affected marginalised groups; the aim was to discuss how to build up the region whilst prioritising those most affected.  

Guest speakers at the event included:

Building Back Equal 2: Destination Tourism and Culture 

Our second event sought to build on the findings from Building Back Equal part 1, diving deeper into industry-specific topics – bringing together 40 of Liverpool’s most influential tourism and culture organisations.  

The panel included:

Building Back Equal 3: Employment and Skills  

The pandemic had a big effect on employment and retaining employees, with several demographics – including older, disabled and lower paid workers – seeing the most impact on their livelihoods. For Building Back Equal, part 3, we brought together a panel of local experts to explore the challenges this posed for LCR.

Guest speakers at the event included:

  • Paul Amann – Principal Officer, Employment & Skills at Liverpool City Region Combined Authority 
  • Amanda Follit – Senior Manager Marketing Operations Services at EPAM
  • Tracy Fishwick OBE – MD at Transform Lives Company
  • Ben Osu – Senior Lead – Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at Everton Football Club


The initial three Building Back Equal events saw multiple companies partnering up with the Firestarters to utilise our event structure. Their aim was to draw out solutions and opinions to big questions they had for the future. Firestarters ignited – events hosted by Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham and Liverpool City Region Combined Authority followed.

Zero Carbon Liverpool 

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has a target of carbon neutrality by 2040. We worked with them to address this with a key group of guests, at an event designed to make further strides with their action plan.

Our Keynote Speaker was Rachel Waggett Principal Environment Officer at LCRCA


Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace 

Partnering with The Growth Platform to host an event to target the topic of wellbeing at work was right up our street. Addressing the impact of the pandemic on mental health, with a focus on how to support employees in the workplace, was the target of the campaign we were helping them to plan. 

The event panel included:

Establishing an Ethical Framework for Personalised Care 

Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership needed to create a first-of-its-kind ethical framework for designing personalised care for its users. 15 people from various socially-driven companies attended. 

Our keynote speaker was Dave Sweeney, Director of Partnerships at CMHCP.

Is this the North?

We partnered with NP11 for a topic close to our hearts – the North and Liverpool. NP11 brings together public and private sectors to improve the lives of Northern people. Key stakeholders were engaged for this event, with the aim to form a proposition for the future. 

Our keynote speaker was Clare Devaney,  Programme lead for NP11.

Where can I find the Spark Change! Report?

Our goal is to bridge the gap between local and global stakeholders and work to help the Liverpool City Region build back better, measure the social impact of our region’s organisations, and become business ready for the green revolution. Find out more about the events and the future of Firestarters by reading The Spark Change! Report here.

Want to get involved in future Firestarters events?

We’ve got plenty of exciting events planned for Firestarters this year and would love to have you join us! Sign up for the Firestarters newsletter to be the first to hear about upcoming events, news and opportunities in the Liverpool City Region. 

To stay up-to-date with the latest news and updates, make sure to follow Firestarters on Twitter and Instagram