Tag: Active Citizens

A perfect description of a perfect social media surgery? Bearwood.

This video is shot by the Lorna Prescott – who’s the surgery manager for the enormously successful Dudley Social Media surgery –  and she’s talking to Coral Musgrave who organised last night’s first social media surgery in Bearwood. It is wonderful to see surgeries seeding with people who run one helping others develop there’s – and all working along the keep it simple lines that started with the recipe.  Lorna (of Dudley CVSlearnt this from her first surgery:

  • Never underestimate the power of sharing knowledge, skills and experience (crucial in community development practice)
  • Social media surgeries are to help active citizens to join the massive conversation which is taking place on the internet
  • Social media surgeries are not basic IT training – we can signpost to adult learning for that
  • Individuals working in the public sector, voluntary sector and involved in community groups are willing to give their time

Well done and lets hope those organisations come back for more help in Bearwood. Can I make one suggestion Coral?  Put some more dates in – so people who are enthused can book to come to another.

May I also say it’s a top notch piece of social reporting. Lorna came to one of our social reporter training programmes a year of more ago – and is a natural in the business of keeping things relaxed, simple, and get them online quickly.

Community Lover’s Guide To The Universe and Birmingham

Spines of Community Lover's Guide books arranged on a shelf

Tessy Britton is an inspiration and so is Maurice Specht. Tessy got to me to write a chapter on social media surgeries for Hand Made – her book on new community culture and  militant optimists. Maurice ‘dragged’ me over to Holland to talk about the work we do to government, housing associations and community groups.

From that has emerged the “Community Lover’s Guide To The Universe”  and we’re editing the Birmingham edition.  Sort of like the Grassroots Channel but with better pictures (and a book).  Let Tessy explain:

A few weeks ago Maurice Specht turned to me on the way to Schiphol airport and said ‘So when are we going to bring out a Hand Made for Rotterdam?’.

What a brilliant suggestion!

Since then the idea has really taken off with 12 community enthusiasts already volunteering to edit special local editions – collectively now called the Community Lover’s Guide To The Universe. Since we brought out Hand Made last August the number of people-led projects has continued to grow and we wanted to explore both the common themes, but also the unique cultural ideas and interpretations from all parts of the world.

We also wanted to start to show how places that are buzzing with community activity and projects are amazing places to live, increasingly more amazing than places with cool architecture or luxury shops. Community brings places alive, gives us new and interesting ways to contribute and connect … and there are signs already that people are finding places that have this creativity and excitement going on highly desirable.

Community can’t be mass produced and it can’t be ‘delivered’. But in rising numbers there are a lot of very excitable people just getting on and making and shaping their local communities for themselves. This series of books will create the opportunity for them to tell their stories, which in turn we hope will encourage other people to put aside any hesitations they might have and get more involved in their neighbourhoods.

So I’ll be doing one of my favourite things –  chuntering my way through the wonders of Birmingham, asking for 800 words or so and loveley pics. No one’s getting paid for this, but I hope you’ll join in.

Who should I talk to – where is the new community culture in this city and who are the militants optimists?


Grassroots Podcast: Initiative Brokers, the Big Society and making community wishes come true

Corian Huhenholtz-Sasse and Rinske van Noortwijk
Corian Huhenholtz-Sasse and Rinske van Noortwijk

Meet Rinske van Noortwijk and Corian Hugenholtz-Sasse  – they make wishes come true.

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I met them both in Rotterdam, invited through the wonderful Maurice Specht to speak to the Association of Initiative Brokers ( @inimakelaar )  in Holland, organised by Rinske.

Two days before, Tessy Britton and I had been in The Hague speaking to senior civil servants from Dutch central government.  Read more