Pat Conaty

pat conaty 3In the 90s Pat was Development Director of the Birmingham Settlement, an inner city community regeneration organisation.

He led the setting up of inner city social enterprises: credit unions, Business Debtline, the Aston Reinvestment Trust (ART) – a mutually owned, local Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) – and ART Homes for home improvement finance. Both were the first of a kind nationally and both are still going strong but now with separate staff and office locations. Since then there have been over 50 CDFs set up similar to ART across the UK and almost 10 CDFs similar to ART Homes.

Pat was educated at the University of California studying Political Economy and now is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham and a Research Associate at the University of Salford. After working as a researcher at nef for eight years, he became a nef fellow in 2007.

He is a founder and former Executive Director of the UK Social Investment Forum – the national association of socially responsible investment organisations.

Before he moved from Birmingham to Powys, with Colin Hines Pat co-founded Localise West Midlands. In Wales he became an Executive Director of the Rebuilding Society Network, a social enterprise in Mid Wales which has just completed a national report and social enterprise model to establish a Community Land Bank opening up access for food growing sites on secure leases (short, medium and long-term) for community groups in urban and rural areas. The waiting list for allotments is over 100,000. This work has been done for the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens who will be leading the development of the CLB later this year with the support of groups like Transition Network, the National Trust and others.

At the University of Salford, working with Community Finance Solutions, he has been developing a national Community Land Trusts training programme that has been running courses since March 2011 for new groups and local authorities. Community Land Trusts offer a community led ‘bottom-up’ approach to housing issues and creative, ecological developments.