Many voices and points of agreement

I’m still recovering from a hectic day travelling up the A1 with the Eventus team to deliver a creative consultation event on accommodation for homeless young people for Broadacres Housing Association. The boxes are being unpacked; we have the easy job of putting resources back on shelves; and the exhilarating but terrifying job of making sense of everything we collected, listened to, filmed, observed and felt, then turning it into a format that Broadacres can act on.

The images are strong. One teenage resident supplied Meatloaf’s ‘You take the words right out of my mouth’ as the soundtrack of her life before the event because ‘people talk over me all the time’. She went on to be filmed making perceptive, articulate comments about improvements to the service.

And the staff, nervous at first but getting stuck in, were touched by how highly the residents valued them, and over half said that they felt more positive about their work after the event. Neighbours arrived with lists of complaints and left with a smile because they’d been able to voice their concerns and had been listened to. This was a new way of working for Broadacres, though familiar to us; but every event, group, community is different and there’s always the anxiety that this time it won’t gel, people won’t come, won’t be engaged.

But as many readers of New Start will know, you should bin the public meetings and get people working together in ways that encourage different people to express their feelings rather than their opinions and it’s surprising how much they contribute and how much is shared. But maybe the real key is people responding to being valued, like the teenager who after two hours suddenly looked around and said ‘you mean all this is just about us?’


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top