Getting there: Maddiston and Rumford – Short survey report

At the Maddiston and Rumford FEAST event we launched the findings of a community survey that we conducted in the local area. Towards the end of 2016, Maddiston Community Council and Iriss, with a range of other partners* helped design and conduct a survey asking local residents about their experiences of living in Maddiston and Rumford. We were delighted that over 200 adults from the local area and 250 children from Maddiston Primary School participated by filling in a paper survey, submitting answers online and being filmed on video. The majority of respondents were positive about life in the area but they also shared some things about what they would like to see improved.

Please click on the link to see the final illustrated report – Getting there short survey report

Physical copies of this short report will be distributed to organisatons, businesses and individuals in the area. We are now in the process of writing up a full report that not only includes detailed findings from the survey, but also explores more around the work that has been going on in Maddiston and Rumford and some key messages on taking this type of engagement and these ideas forward. We hope to have this report written up and drafted in March and published in April 2017.

*Braes High School, CVS Falkirk, Dial-a-Journey, Falkirk Community Trust, Falkirk Council, First Group, Forth Valley College, Maddiston Community Centre, Maddiston Primary School, NHS Forth Valley, SEStran

The Maddiston and Rumford FEAST

 

Our work on The Big Idea this year culminated in a community feast event for Maddiston and Rumford.  A FEAST is a community celebration which showcases local projects and gives the community the opportunity to choose who gets funding (along with sharing food and making connections). Our FEAST event was inspired by the Detroit SOUP, a community crowdfunding event which has been replicated across communities globally.

This meant we didn’t just invite people along, we invite them to pitch ideas which they thought could improve their community. This event was the culmination of a year’s worth of community enquiry* which revealed four key categories for improvement within the community:

  • Children and young people
  • Community Spirit
  • Travel, transport and traffic
  • Local provision of services

*a full report based on this inquiry will be available in March 2017

Our hope that was although the available funding may not have been enough to move mountains, it would act as a catalyst for community action and sustainability.

We invited all members of the community to attend the event by letter. This was based on learning from past events from all partners. Luckily, we were able to use the posting facilities of the council, who are partners on the Getting There project. We also raised awareness for the event through the Maddiston Community Council’s Facebook page and website. We relied heavily on word of mouth, particularly when it came to recruiting groups who may not sign up online. We used Eventbrite to manage numbers, but did have groups arrive on the day without a ‘ticket’, but we had capacity and had planned for the eventuality!

On reflection, we realised that many invitations didn’t make it through doors in particular postcodes. This may seem like a small oversight, but one that may have made some members of the community feel excluded. We also learned a lot about the timing of these sorts of events. Our event was at the end of January, which was actually great as people were excited about an energising event after a month of the cold. However, it meant that we had an extremely tight turnaround on invite distribution in the new year.

On the day, we were pleased to welcome a cross-section of the community to the event, approximately 70 residents of Maddiston and Rumford. Surprisingly, a hand count revealed that only around 10-15% of the people in attendance on the day had been part of the initial community research. This suggests to us that the event may have had more reach than the survey (perhaps because of the mailout).

After we shared finding from the community inquiry, including a media presentations, we heard presentations from 8 great projects, which all proposed to improve one of our research themes, or more. These included:

  1. Nurture Project – Maddiston Primary School: Creating nurture spaces around the school to support and promote well being of pupils and families in the community.
  2. Achievement Project – Braes High School: Celebrating success of young people in the local community through posters and displays
  3. Youth Club Project – Maddiston Salvation Army: Help cover costs of setting up Youth Club for 1st to 3rd year pupils, including equipment and excursions
  4. Activity Centre Outing – Maddiston Friday Youth Club: Help with costs for an overnight outing to an activity centre to develop confidence, new skills and teamwork.
  5. Lunch Club: Help cover the costs of setting up a lunch club to provide healthy, low cost food and a place to socialise.
  6. Growing for All – Muiravonside Community Growing Area: Buying raised beds to make the growing area suitable for wheelchair users and people with mobility problems.
  7. Summer Fete – Maddiston PSA: Help with costs for running summer fete for the community
  8. Sports Equipment – Maddiston Minis: Improving kit and equipment for 3 youth football teams catering for 5-13 yr olds.

How did people vote for ideas?

We allocated a marble at the door to each paying adult, and once the community had heard from each project, they cast their vote independently. It is interesting to note that the votes were fairly evenly spread across the projects, indicating that most ideas appealed to the community in some way.  However, we were able to fund five projects from the day! (indicated in bold above)

What did folk think about the day?

Overall, the day was received positively. People learned a little about their community, made positive social connections, felt able to take part and were pleased to know “that things are already going on that are very encouraging”

In future, people expressed interest in a further event: “An event which encourages individuals to take part in positive improvements and leave feeling welcomed and united.”

We also had feedback from people who wanted to see a broader range of people from the community involved – including older people and young people who attended different schools than Maddiston Primary and Braes High.

In many ways, the event felt like a celebration not just of the work done by the Getting There Project and Maddiston Community Council, but the community itself. Performances from local schools and catering from local businesses added warmth and energy to the day.

What are the next steps?

Iriss will be allocating the funding to these community projects before March, and meeting with the Getting There group to discuss next steps. We will be checking in with projects who received funding on the day to document their learning and impact. Falkirk Council has also been awarded funding (£11,000) which they will distribute using a very similar event format based on learning from the day. We look forward to understanding how they adapt and embed this approach.

Reflecting on progress thus far… and deciding

On 21st June, we invited partners from both the Glasgow and Falkirk sites to meet us to celebrate our work together so far, but also to discuss the potential for collaboration in the future. In advance we asked each partner to provide some thoughts in writing. Here are some of the thoughts and reflections that were presented:

Reflecting on the role of Iriss:

As alluded to throughout this report, working with Iriss has been a rewarding and positive experience for everyone involved. From the initial development of the project ideas, to identification of methods and development of questions Iriss have proven to be professional, driven and experienced. They have enabled the progress of the project from day one, providing a strategic overview which has perfectly matched with the local knowledge and outlooks of the working group (Falkirk).

Without the input from IRISS the process will be much slower due to the historical divisions and problems encountered by this community. Independent facilitation will bring a neutral approach and encourage people to speak their views more comfortably. Our experience of working with IRISS has been very positive indeed. It has supported us: (1) By guiding discussions and giving us the space to talk openly and honestly (2) By supporting us to believe in our vision for the future of Milton (Glasgow).

Reflecting on changes in relationships with each other:

The working group has drawn together a wealth of specialist knowledge from the public, private, third sectors alongside people in the community, with the members and their key partners having experience in connecting and effecting transformational collaboration between people, organisations and systems….We would seek to combine their local knowledge with external knowledge of the systems that affect their areas, sharing the constraints, whether they are technical, financial or otherwise, that could affect the plans whilst working together to find the best solutions to the identified issues. By drawing together the working group, we feel we have already taken a big step towards achieving transformational change. Despite the issues that have emerged through different stages of the project to date, there has continued to be a commitment from those involved to work together and try and help Maddiston and Rumford. Through these connections, we feel transformational change is more than possible (Falkirk).

There is now a stronger connection between local residents and service providers in terms of better understanding local issues and concerns, and an increased opportunity to share ideas and opinions and discuss how problems might be addressed…. This process has changed the way that organisations respond to the needs and issues being faced by local residents. There is now perhaps an increased awareness and a greater level of trust established (Glasgow).

We had a great chat on the day and we were impressed by the strength of each partnership. It was a difficult decision to make, but we used the written submissions, the discussion on the day as well as our experience of partnership working thus far to come to an agreement about which area afforded the greatest potential for us to meet both local outcomes and our organisational outcomes together.

We’re delighted to say that we will be working with the Falkirk site until March 2017. We’ve also agreed to provide light touch support to the partnership in Glasgow.

More updates soon.

Connecting Milton… development day

On 25th May, over a day-long session, Iriss supported a group of people representing a broad range of organisations who support the people of Milton to come together, share the ambitions of their work and to identify opportunities for collaborative working. The aims were to:

  • feel better connected to one another
  • understand each others service aims and objectives
  • better understand the needs of people in Milton
  • explain how their organisations are responding to those needs, and will need to change to respond to those needs
  • are able to make connections with other services to meet the needs of the community

Over the course of the session, the group was encouraged to relate to each other as individuals (not roles or organisations), by completing and discussing little proformas. This exercise uncovered many hidden talents!

Roland Playle from the North Glasgow Community Food Initiative provided an engaging presentation highlighting the key findings from the Milton Talks survey. This generated a wealth of discussion and a whole wall of community identified ‘needs’:

Following this presentation,  plans were made in cross-organisational groups to respond to some of the key issues and the group were then asked to consider how to promote increased participation and community-led approaches in the next stages of collaborating together. The purpose of this was to devise collaborative plans for how they could responds to unmet needs or support other to meet needs that are not well resourced.

We also took some little video clips of people talking about their work, and their wishes for the people of Milton – coming soon!

The day was very positively evaluated. Here are some comments from the group:

What worked well?

  1. All of it
  2. Great ideas
  3. Community needs wall
  4. Variety of ideas and methods
  5. Good participation from all present
  6. It was very valuable to have a bit of time to listen, learn and share between groups
  7. Iriss facilitation (thank you!)
  8. Good to hear Milton Talks stuff and responses of people
  9. Making contact with local church
  10. Finding out the info from Milton Talks. Well done in all the hard work (door-door / Collate stats)
  11. Shared information and ideas

What could have worked better?

  1. Put deadlines to actions
  2. Pin people down to their actions
  3. More commitment from absent organisations
  4. Perhaps more focus on specific outcomes
  5. Me to have been here all day (action phase)
  6. Would have been really useful to have a vision and activities summary from each group

Team reflections on collaboration and decision making

It’s near impossible to write a blog individually that sums up the feelings of those involved in a collaborative project. It would also take a dramatically long time to collaboratively write a blog that could even attempt to make sense between a range of different perspectives!

The policy context at the moment is sympathetic to collaborative approaches, which are heralded as one of the key solutions to the complex difficulties facing social services and the public sector. That said, it is difficult to evidence the impact of collaboration due to a number of factors including: how collaboration is conceptualised and difficulties of measurement, and of course the range of perspectives that have to be included (to name a few).

We know that on a good day, collaboration is supported by (adapted from Community Toolbox, 2015):

  • working together to develop a shared vision and mission that can reflect a range of outcomes at different levels
  • identifying specific actions that will be undertaken by each collaborator
  • collaborative leadership – encouraging people to have generative conversations and to look at issues holistically
  • employing or providing some resources to support a move towards action
  • routinely monitoring and documenting change
  • gaining external support e.g. facilitation

So, commonly held (and simplified) outcomes from collaboration include:

  • increased learning and knowledge sharing between diverse perspectives
  • reduced cost by avoiding duplication
  • releasing common resources
  • greater innovation as there opportunities to share and build on ideas are enabled

On a bad day, the practice of bringing together individuals from a range of diverse backgrounds together can be difficult. In this project we aimed to not only stimulate collaboration locally, but to collaborate internally too, to model the change we hoped to seek. At times, this felt even more difficult and it would be fair to say that the makings of this project have fallen into some of the same traps as other collaborative endeavors have.

Mulgan (2016) highlights that the common pitfalls of collaboration include:

  • inaction – circular conversations, difficulties in moving towards implementation
  • slower pace of change – taking time to surface and understand disparate views can reduce the speed of the work
  • consensus – a focus on consensus can reduce the likelihood of exploring underlying issues and as such they do not become resolved

In this project so far, did collaboration add more than it subtracts?

Here are some of the thoughts from the team:

On collaborating internally….

…For me, there was an identified tension between deliberation and action and a colleague suggested that perhaps we could have been doing with some tools/support to support us to say when we just need to ‘move on’ and when things need to be more fully discussed.  One thing is for sure, Iriss now has an increased understanding of its own experience of collaborative processes – so it may be easier for us to understand others’ ‘reactions’ and enable/develop mechanisms for others in similar processes going forward.

…My favourite thing about collaboration is when my starting position is changed and shifted by the conversation and contributions of others. But what I really struggled with internally was when this didn’t happen; when I still felt ‘right’, but my view wasn’t reflected in consensus decision making. I think in finding the middle ground, we may have all felt some level of dissatisfaction which can be really demotivating. At times, the process felt draining and time consuming, without much action being achieved. This was definitely a learning opportunity and I think in the future we would approach this process differently, as well as speak about collaboration with a lot more experience and honesty.

On collaborating to choose a partner….

…I felt really confident about sharing the decision making process with the group. However, I’m not entirely clear on how the criteria was used by each of the teams, nor how they answered the question of ‘which area provides the greatest opportunity for learning around collaboration’. As I was facilitating this part of the event, I also didn’t get to add my voice to any of the groups. So, to me, the decision wasn’t really shared. The idea was that the Iriss team would actively join in the discussions (rather than facilitating), but I’m not sure if this was enabled effectively. I think it would have been more fruitful if Iriss were also given a vote, as a team.

…Because Iriss was committing a potentially huge resource (of staff time) to this project, I felt that we were responsible for making the right choice of partner, but there wasn’t a mechanism for our choice to be expressed. I feel that we did our own experience as an organisation a disservice by not participating as a partner in decision making in the earlier stages of these events. We also limited our scope of partners to those who could attend these full day events rather than hosting open applications.

Collective decision making and voting

We didn’t set out to use specific voting methods to reach consensus but on reflection we broadly used the following models:

Internally –
Consensus decision-making
“Consensus requires that a majority approve a given course of action, but that the minority agree to go along with the course of action. In other words, if the minority opposes the course of action, consensus requires that the course of action should be modified, as far as possible, to remove objectionable features.”

…We tried to stick to these principles but, as some of the other reflections outline, there was only so much scope for a majority decision to be made and consensus/modifications taken into account from others. I think this process often left much of the Iriss team involved feeling not quite comfortable with the final decision – whether they had been on the side of the majority or minority!

…We spent a lot of time in internal meetings often culminating in some sort of voting: hands, dots etc. Often our opinions were distributed over a wide spectrum meaning that once a decision was made each of us would have to work with something that was a distance away from our own ideal outcome. Such is life. However, other consequences were that individual enthusiasm were often significantly affected by the process.

Externally
Voting-based method – Range voting
“This lets each member {groups in our case} score one or more of the available options. The option with the highest vote number is chosen as the winner. This method has experimentally been shown to produce the lowest Bayesian regret (wasted votes/unhappiness) among common voting methods, even when voters are strategic.”

…We asked each group to score the other presentations, then the top two scores were the ‘winners’. I think if it hadn’t been the confrontational nature of this being so open, and the winners revealed while the so-called ‘losers’ were in the room, we may have avoided some of the uneasiness that was felt.

…An element of the voting I found challenging was that on the day, groups were voting as a collective. But many of these groups had just met – and members represented radically different interests and voices. Would people have voted differently if given an individual vote? We were relying on consensus not just across a broader cohort but in individual groups – an experience we know isn’t easy! However, it was fascinating to understand my group’s own journey of voting and I think witnessing that decision making really opened my eyes to some of the priorities and values of the group which I would not have understood otherwise.

Easter Saturday (Glasgow)

– a guest post from Mark Langdon, Chair, North United Communities

The Easter Saturday event was a brilliant example of community assets in motion. The church hall filled with local people some organising cooking and organising and many having fun chatting to friends and relatives neighbours and new faces (like me). I was there in my role as Chairperson of North United Communities staffing the stall that IRISS had provided with the aim of capturing what people liked about their area and themselves.

Tellingly the biggest challenge for most folk was saying something good about themselves. For me the experience was fantastic so many great people finding time to spend together mothers and fathers helping their kids showing patience and providing encouragement. The best way to give you a sense of the day – apart from a picture of me wearing bunny ears (which I do every Easter) – is to let you read the words that were hung on the listening tree.

The day recharged my faith in the inherit goodness of people and reminded me how little people are asking for in their communities – security, warmth, food and hope for the future – they deserve all that and a lot more.

 

The challenges of early collaboration: the hook and the box (Falkirk)

A representative from Falkirk CVS, with his colleague from Community Learning and Development (Falkirk Council) attended the first and second Big Idea events to represent the area and pitch for Iriss’ involvement in the Falkirk area. Falkirk’s involvement was initially unique because they came with a ready-formed focus; they wanted Iriss’ support to develop community transport. Partners at the event agreed that community transport was an enduring challenge in Scotland, and a barrier for many people accessing support. In this way, it really served as a ‘hook’ for people, as they could relate to it and apply it to their local setting. This may have been one of the reasons that Falkirk was chosen by the group to be one of the potential sites for Iriss to work in.

In establishing a working group in the area, having the ‘hook’ of community transport had some clear benefits:

  • It brought people into discussions with a clear focus
  • It was easier to identify key partners and stakeholder based on their area of interest/expertise

However, the principles of The Big Idea (place-based working, bottom-up issues) directed that the project began with an open exploration of a geographical area to understand what the people living in that place want and need. This meant that some work had to be done to move away from the ‘hook’ of community transport, so that it didn’t act as a ‘box’. The concern about community transport acting as a ‘box’ was that it predetermined what the community wanted and needed, which would make engagement more consultative rather than open. There was the perception from those gathered that much of the work to understand community issues had already taken place, with many citing recent consultation exercises which evidenced transport being a key concern.

Beginning work in Falkirk was in many ways about supporting our lead in the area and the working group to broader their view of what ‘community transport’ really meant, and to challenge their assumptions behind it and to understand if the real issue is community transport, or something else entirely. This work attempts to support the partners to get to the root of the issue. So how do we do move a group from a ‘box’ to a more open space?

  • We question how we know what we know – how do we know that community transport is the key concern for this community? How have we engaged with people from communities to ask? What stakeholders were involved in this engagement?
  • We explore the ‘why’ behind community transport – where do people want to go? How do people live their lives?
  • We moved back to place-based approach and identified a geographical area, which helped re-shape the focus of the group to a single location, and understand the experience of living there.

While this process helped to move us back to the principles of The Big Idea it is important to note that by moving away from this box (and its hook), some things became more challenging as:

  • Some original group members weren’t sure about their ongoing involvement (In part because they had to justify their time)
  • It may feel like we are entering more uncharted water, which is a more uncomfortable space for some.

This is an ongoing process and is in many ways a process of learning about un-learning traditional approaches to community engagement. Shifting from the ‘box’ of pre-determined projects was something that Iriss had to grapple with internally as well, and may represent a broader shift across social services in Scotland.

Written by: Rhiann McLean

A sense of relief (Glasgow)

Shortly after the session, it was announced that there would be a stand-still budget from the council for the preceding three months, which was thought to give the whole group more time to organise itself, as well as a sense of relief!

Following this, we agreed to go ahead and take forward the actions from the first session – to run two subsequent events – the first for organisations/representatives from the workforce, and the second a much broader public engagement event. The rationale for this was that for transformative collaboration to manifest itself we recognise that trust has to be developed and fostered between agencies, as well as between the community and the agencies who are there to serve them, with each working alongside each other to improve outcomes and achieve change.

We had the opportunity to discuss and agree this approach at a Connecting Milton Community Breakfast that took place in March. This was seen as a positive progression at Iriss, as the community breakfasts were established through the Animating Assets project, and which includes broad representation from a host of organisations engaging with the people of Milton (it also enables us to follow up with Love Milton, who had signed up, but who were unfortunately unable to attend the Stirling events).

The Helsinki Bus Station: Why staying the course is worth the frustration

Photographer Arno Rafael Minkkinen gave a speech about photography and innovation which we feel could be relevant to the work we do here at Iriss. His theory? That innovation doesn’t necessarily always come from the road less travelled, but from re-travelling routes over and over to feel inspired.

The Helsinki Bus Station

Minkkinen’s metaphor for creativity is the Helsinki bus station.

Helsinki bus station is the origin of lots of different buses. But despite each bus having a different destination, each bus takes the same route out of the city for at least a kilometer.  It is only after this first kilometer that they begin to go in different directions.

Despite there being a variety of buses, each reaching different destinations, each bus shares the same first kilometer of its journey, no matter its destination. This means that even though people are going on vastly different journeys, the journeys all seem identical at first. The sights, sounds and experience is identical and feels too familiar to be inspiring.

The instinct when a person realises that they are on the same route as that they have have seen before, is to hop off the bus and return to the station, to take a different bus. The passenger wants to be inspired by new sights, to do new things. But, of course, the next bus from Helsinki bus station takes the same route.. And the cycle continues.

So what needs to change for inspiration to happen?

Stay on the bus!

Minkkinen suggests that creativity emerges when you stay on the bus, and begin to see the same sights from a different perspective. Old sights are renewed through the journey and the bus ultimately continues to a new destination.

Staying on the bus is a challenge because it feels as if creativity can only emerge from the new. But it’s from the repetition of similar routes that creativity really emerges.  From Minkkenen’s perspective, “we should stay on the bus and commit to the hard work of revisiting, rethinking, and revising our ideas.” The act of revisiting and revising isn’t ‘new’, but innovation doesn’t always emerge from new ideas.

What does this mean for us?

A strive to be ‘new’ shouldn’t be at the expense of revisiting existing routes. Often, at the beginning of a project there is enthusiasm for new approaches and a reticence to revisit old ideas. For example, we may not want to engage or consult with a group if we have recently done so, or we may not want to address an issue where there has been other activity.

Often, creativity is born out of revisiting and revising old ideas, staying on the bus rather than looking for something new.  The challenge of the big idea was to stick with the process, examining and reexamining an idea of community engagement and better lives.

Reflections on the Big Idea

For Iriss, ‘staying on the bus’ was about pushing for collaboration and partnership throughout the project, even when it felt repetitive. The feedback from our very  first event was that the model collaboration we were describing was ‘old news’, and our response was to stay on the bus and push for more meaningful and more effective collaboration through partnership.

In fact, our role was to challenge and reframe existing partnerships, asking about origin, power dynamic and reach in order to broaden our ideas of partnership beyond organisational structures. We wanted for people to view partnership working from a new perspective (place-based working) in order to find new direction. Within both project sites, we have continued to focus on the collaboration of multiple voices in order to improve outcomes for the people who live and work in that area. At times, this has meant revisiting existing data and asking new questions – an act that requires the careful balance between ‘engagement fatigue’ and well, new roads.

The frustration and repetition of this approach has at time felt draining, but we know that staying on the bus, we hope to finally arrive somewhere new.

A discussion on collaborative practice and planning in North West Glasgow

On 21st January, we held an event in Maryhill Burgh Halls attended by 20 people representing social work, community based services, housing and cultural organisations. The purpose of this event was to start a conversation, to consider what could be achieved for communities in NW Glasgow through a broad, rich partnership of agencies and people.

Our goal was to enable people to:

  • Connect up – to have different types of conversations, make new contacts and networks
  • Understand what the group agrees and disagrees on (in relation to partnership and collaboration), and the focus of work
  • Commit – Understanding and identifying the appetite for the work.

The conversations had on the day were far reaching, crucial for many in the room was the notice of impending cuts, with a very difficult funding landscape at present being continually discussed and presenting a sense of urgency to act. Concerns were raised about very local organisations working with the most vulnerable being under threat.

There was also a genuine source of frustration that the policy context at the moment is so supportive of the type of work that grassroots organisations are trying to undertake, but that the perception is that this is failing to manifest or be invested in at a local level. Hearing about the struggles that local organisations are facing in terms of cuts was very stark, and it was voiced that there was more to be done to bring the policy rhetoric into the reality of what communities are experiencing.

Emerging inter-related themes

  1. Relationships between organisations need to be strengthened. It takes time to build trust

There was a sense from the group that we have to start somewhere, and that small conversations like this which enable a space for people to explore issues together is a key step forward. There was expressed appetite from those in the room to come together and gain a better understanding of what each other does and to build trust to enable collaboration. The real concern voiced was that the very local organisations who have deep and sustained relationships with the community are lost in the next round of cuts. One of the questions we posed was whether or not we could collaboratively work together as a group of organisations to go to funders and provide an offer to help them reach their transformational agenda?

  1. Relationships with people living in the community need to deepen

There is a wealth of work happening to engage with people locally across each of the organisations that were represented on the day. However, the group recognised that each organisation is doing this differently, asking different questions and rarely shared the result of this engagement with others. There is the potential to create opportunities for people to come together to enable the community to have their say on the broader context of cuts to services. This would serve as a contextual analysis at a locality level to enable us to understand what the community wants and values. Could the organisations gathered share the information that they have to look for insights and gaps about they key issues to be addressed as identified by the people of Milton?

  1. We need to raise the profile of the work that we do / build organisational resilience to weather the storm

As resources continue to diminish we need to think of clever and sophisticated ways of arguing our case and trying to get investment. Some of this will be about relationship building. This is about exposing what organisations do and the connections between those organisations, rather than promotion. A ‘campaign’ – to support decision-makers to understand how crucial this preventative work is. This is not just about looking at figures, but helping people to understand the impact of this work, and what will be lost if the funding goes.

There also needs to be a constructive challenge to current funding processes that demand that organisations invest significant resources of tie and energy continually evidencing the need for and efficacy of their work. If resources to tackle inequality and poverty are being cut does it make sense to take resources from the complex and costly layer of oversight and produce more effective streamlined processes of funding and evaluation?

Actions

We agreed that the next steps for this work didn’t need to be leaps, but could involve an invitation to bring a wider group in, that said, the following actions were identified:

Short term

  1. Identify people who are happy to go forward with this collaborative project – both in the room and others who are working locally and willing to walk on this journey with us – keep asking ‘who is not here that should be’
  2. Quick and dirty asset mapping exercise – focused on what do the community value and need? and how is this invested?
  3. Run another session in March for a wider group to come together

Reflections

“it’s the first time I haven’t felt a combative environment”

“it was a day where people seemed to see other people’s roles and perspectives”

We were pleased (though surprised!) at the really robust, honest conversations that emerged from those who attended. People did not skirt around the key issues and were determined to confront the difficult circumstances they were finding themselves in head on. It remains to be seen how committed people are to working together, but there was a sense from the partners that the event provided a greater foundation for which to approach other organisations. That said, it was evident that the majority of the people in the room were from local (to the North West of Glasgow) organisations, not specifically focused in supporting the people of Milton, and so there was the recognition that more would need to be done to invite the very local organisations into the conversation, as well as maintaining the links with those who’d taken part on this day.