The same spirit of progressive social change; the energy of impassioned social action; and the intelligence of evidence-based argument and action alongside emotional reaction can serve the voluntary and community sector well for the next five years.
November 2015 - NewStart
ISSUE 535: NOVEMBER 2015
*NEW START IN SHEFFIELD*
The Open Works project aimed to encourage and expand local levels of participation. Tessy Britton examines the results and finds that, for participation to be meaningful, neighbourhoods need more than a scattergun approach
A new movement is gaining momentum across England which is turning public services inside out. At its heart is the assumption that services need to become more innovative if they are to achieve the outcomes that people need. Work with arts and cultural organisations is shining a new light on some of the most intractable issues facing local authorities and the NHS.
What will it take to get public services and communities working together to achieve lasting change? Local Trust – which runs the Big Local programme – gives New Start an exclusive insight into what works and what doesn’t
After all these years of mistrust it won’t be a quick fix. Public service providers must stop ‘consulting’ and start listening from the basis of a blank canvas and then acting on what people want. If they’re asking local communities to help out in this period of austerity, then give them control, not just responsibility.
Collaboration is not a cheap option. Without public services investing in changing the way they do things there’s a real danger that new collaborations will go the way of so many other community initiatives. We’ll end up with a few small sparks but no sustained change; and we need and want sustained change in our community.
Encouragingly, Handy also suggests that material economic growth cannot continue to be a realistic measure of success. For me, the roots of the ‘second curve’ he forecasts are to be found by challenging some of those sacred givens that have long shaped our aspirations.
Accepting failure doesn’t come naturally to governments keen to win the next election, but if we could learn to take more risk and accept failure the world of regeneration would look very different. It wouldn’t sanitise or shelve reports, set impossible targets or pull the plug on projects struggling to get off the ground. It wouldn’t chase the latest ‘thing’ or lie to itself so thoroughly as to make any meaningful learning impossible.
Unless urgent action is taken to provide better housing options for young people, far too many will miss out on those opportunities, and future generations will pay a heavy price.