Monthly Archives: September 2011

Paul Twivy and David Robinson at the YSM Summit

Today’s Your Square Mile summit – reported here – heard a wide range of presentations from national organisations as well as those involved in local projects. Knowing that these were all being video’d, and will be available later, I took a different tack and invited YSM chief executive Paul Twivy to pop outside and have a chat on camera with long-time friend and adviser David Robinson OBE.
David co-founded the East London-based Community Links back in 1977, and has enormous experience both locally in Newham, and on national bodies. He gave the closing presentation at the summit, with a strong endorsement of YSM.
In the conversation you’ll hear Paul and David talk about the need to make connections between communities, and encourage people to share and adopt ideas across communities for creative local action, and much else.
There’s a good joke from David about a young child being told that the Equator was an imaginary line on the map, and hearing “lion”. We are too fearful of imaginary lions patrolling the borders between our communities.
Both Paul and David agree on then importance of the involvement of business – and that it is often and small and medium size enterprises who have most to contribute because they are closer to the community.
The recent riots may have offered a warning to bigger brands that while they have local presence, and large numbers of customers, they would be wise to develop stronger affinities with their local communities.
I hope to feature more from the Summit next week, including a presentation from YSM MD on the new digital platform, mentioned here.
Update: the new Your Square Mile site is live, and I’ve posted an update and interview with Jamie Cowen, YSM MD on my personal site.

Your Square Mile National Summit

I’m with John Popham in Birmingham reporting from the Your Square Mile National Summit, where more than 100 people are sharing experience from the local pilot projects that have been running this year around the UK. More on the pilots and YSM on their site.
As well as updates from the pilots, there are surgeries on fundraising, local ownership of community assets, setting up a community shop, and local online communities.
Your Square Mile is one of the major partners in the Big Lottery Fund’s People Powered Change, and I have reported past developments at I’ll be talking later in the day with chief executive Paul Twivy and others in the team to get an update on developments. Meanwhile you can follow #ysmbrum tweets here from the the event.



New media and networking for People Powered Change

Over the next few months social reporters David Wilcox (that’s me), John Popham, and network specialist Drew Mackie, will be are exploring with Big Lottery Fund how people can best share stories about community-led action through events and networking, using a mix of media.
We’ll be doing that as rather junior partners in BIG’s People Powered Change programme. That’s the banner for millions of pounds of funding in England to support action by local groups, and national initiatives. You can see the rather more substantial partners here.
The three of us have worked in this field for some time, and naturally we are rather excited to be able to bring our ideas and experience to the programme. It’s a little daunting, but fortunately we’ll mainly be amplifying the activities of others through the social reporter role of making sense, joining up and helping out – as I explain in general terms here.
The idea of working with BIG came up because there’s some terrific examples of community reporting on the ground, like People’s Voice Media, major initiatives supported by BIG like Your Square Mile, and the Media Trust news hubs, independent initiatives like Our Society … plus scores of others … but often people don’t know what the others are doing.
Great stories are missed, work is duplicated, and there’s much grumbling about the people who can make it breakfast launches in London getting an unfair slice of the action through well-honed networking skills.  I was cheeky enough to write that People Powered Change needs ppchange communications, and it seems that BIG agrees.
More specifically, we’ve agreed that “over the next few months we will be:

  • mapping the national networks that help people share and collaborate
  • showing how social media can extend events beyond those in the room
  • promoting examples of reporting that help give citizens and local groups a stronger voice
  • reporting ourselves on some key events and activities

“As well as showing some great examples of what’s happening, Social Reporters will work with BIG and others to strengthen existing networks and build new ones”.
I’ve provided this background, including links to somewhat critical pieces, because John and I will be doing something of a balancing act. On the one hand we’ll be playing the traditional reporter role of questioning and challenging, while on the other looking for potential collaborations rather than conflicts, celebrations rather than crises.
We are hugely grateful to BIG for supporting the experiment. We’ll be blogging here about the People Powered Change work, and also about anything else that might be relevant.
Drew will be working on the mapping of networks, drawing on many years of experience documented here. John will be … well, I’ll let him explain in a further post. Past exploits are here.
Thanks to our friends at Ruralnet Futures for setting this blog up so quickly. It’s rather plain at present, but we’ll be adding more features and a wiki, with lots of photos and videos, and invitations to join in.
Meanwhile do drop a comment, or get in touch here.