Joining the Dots

Helping city leaders connect on shared challenges and opportunities to strengthen economic links and drive regional growth

Joining the Dots brings city leaders together to build connections around the shared challenges and opportunities and areas of economic strength for businesses in their respective regions by creating a safe space for confidential discussions. The project was initiated by the British Embassy in Cork and is facilitated by Connected Places Catapult. It was launched in 2018 with then Tánaiste Simon Coveney.

The project has developed an ongoing programme of dialogue, sharing best practice across regions and helping places learn from each other. Connected Places Catapult has so far facilitated events in Coventry/Birmingham, Limerick, Galway, Dublin, Belfast and Manchester to share common agendas.

The sharing of case studies that have the potential to be developed across regions is fundamental to the project. Kindred, from Liverpool City region, was profiled for how it supports socially traded organisations to start up and grow. Over two years it has invested £2m into 47 STOs and among other successes, one of these projects, Future Yard, from the Creative Leisure and Hospitality sector, has created 48 jobs and has turnover of £350,000. Another case study shared was a Belfast skill-up pilot that took 20 unemployed people (some 2/3rd generation unemployed) and trained and supported them through a 16-week course whilst ensuring continuation of universal credit.

At the event in Manchester, colleagues from across the UK and Ireland met at the Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre and discussed how the changing nature of inward investment is reflecting the focus on research and innovation with keynotes from the London School of Economics, The Business of Cities and case studies from MIDAS and the Tyndall Institute in Cork with further discussions and a workshop to explore the priorities across the UK and Ireland.

The Next Phase 

Building on a series of successful events, positive feedback, and at the request of attendees, Connected Places Catapult and the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office have agreed to continue to expand on the project. Themes that the participating regions plan to explore include: inclusive innovation and community wealth building, foreign direct investment, skills development, culture and place, climate, net zero and housing.  

Participating regions that are helping to lead the project include:  

  • Belfast  
  • Birmingham 
  • Cork  
  • Derry 
  • Dublin  
  • Galway  
  • Limerick  
  • Liverpool 
  • Manchester  

The aims of the collective are: 

  • To develop an ongoing programme of dialogue and learning, sharing real best practice across the UK and Ireland learning from each other and referring to and engaging with international best practice 
  • To identify specific place to place opportunities that can be developed to generate growth 
  • To create a mechanic to contribute best practice thinking to agendas across governments in the UK and Ireland, particularly to assist the articulation of devolution planning 
  • To widen the conversation from existing destinations (Liverpool, Manchester, Belfast, Dublin, Derry, Cork, Limerick and Galway) to those across the UK including Scotland and Wales 
  • To record all deliverables to form a learning and ongoing engagement legacy  

To find out more, email

Joining the Dots Briefing Note
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