We met on the hottest day of the year so far at the premises of Resonate in Alloa. Resonate is a social enterprise that offers everything from painting, photography and wood turning classes, to tai chi and a printing and publishing service. Most of the work is done by volunteers and artists from a wide variety of backgrounds, many of whom have experienced unemployment and other challenges. In the process, "team Resonate" seek to build community connectedness and confidence.
- Spreading learning, and supporting sustainability – helping those doing the innovative work to form more of a network and share learning and solutions.
- Developing the evidence base around what works and how to evaluate effectiveness.
- Applying the improvement framework to empower community enterprises like Resonate to make a greater impact.
- Deploying existing public sector resources (police and fire officers, local authority and health staff) in partnership with the third and private sectors and in a way that supports and enables community cohesion.
We were reminded a few times of the role that leadership plays, and that behind every successful initiative we’ll find what Martin Johnstone described as “spectacular individuals”. His suggestion was that we bring together a range of these individuals for a dinner in the community in which they work. We say thank you in a context of celebration. We help them to connect, we learn, and we respond to the asks that might emerge from this positive process.
I’m excited by the possibilities that something like this could lead to, while slightly nervous about stepping out of an assets based approach back into a “we know what you really need” mode.
Finally, some key quotes from those actually doing the work:
- "Lead from the back"
- "Evaluate on a daily basis"
- "The system seems to stop us"
- "It's about being listened to"