I’ve just spent a wonderful morning with two women who are both directors of Witton Lodge Community Association. Linda Hines has been involved for 15 years while Michelle Ashmore got stuck in just two or three years ago.
The Association has been working really closely with Birmingham City Council and other partners to drive through a huge regeneration project for Perry Common in the north of the city. It began with the bombshell that hundreds of homes were so structurally unsound they would have to be demolished.
The association is really central to its success for two reasons. First the 14 unpaid (and mostly resident) directors have a common sense idea of how to help the community thrive. Secondly the council was unable to raise the money for rebuilding on its own. The finance was only possible because of the association. Their hard won expertise is now being shared through the governments Guide Neighbourhoods programme (along with Balsall Heath and Castle Vale)
If you scroll down you can listen to their lively (and sometimes tearful) conversation and find out why both directors are convinced that much of their power derives from them being unpaid. So much so that wouldn’t want it any other way. Oh and please leave any comments here on the blog.