June 2022 – Next Steps for All1C

It’s June 2022 and we (Hilary and Roisin) have been delivering support to communities in Calderdale since 2017. And so we are considering our next steps including our strategic priorities and the social impact that we really want to make. We know this much that everything has to evolve and change, and All One Collective is no different.

 

But if we had to tell the story of our work so far, we think we would say…

 

  • We worked hard to get the right people in the room. By ‘right’ we mean a diverse representation of community experience and voices. Ensuring people from a range of backgrounds participate in a project is a piece of work in its own right. If you actually want the people who might find it challenging to attend to turn up, you need to go and speak to those people, relate, show empathy, build trust – a poster and a flyer doesn’t do this. Representative community engagement starts with filling the room with a range of different lived experiences. At All1C since 2017, we’ve prioritised this and have been rewarded with getting to build relationships with some inspiring people.

 

  • We provided a space for communities to identify challenges they and their community were facing. Its sounds obvious but often whilst communities are actively experiencing a range of different challenges, they need a safe and facilitated space to articulate their lived experience. Once a person names the issue (s) the next step is looking at the root causes and the systems, policies and practices that underpin the social issues – a first step towards undertaking social action

 

  • We embedded knowledge and understanding around self-care into all our community support. We are living in unprecedented times of social isolation and disconnection and many people at all different ages and in all different groups are not feeling well. If you’re not feeling well and your mental health is poor, it is almost impossible to be able to take social actions that can help create community and societal change. And so we make sure that all our participants leave our programmes with developed self-care tools that they can take into their lives and community work.

 

  • We helped people to dig deep into active citizenship, analysing inequality and power and developing practical skills needed for social action project design. Community members are the experts in terms of challenges and solutions they face but often need support to help shape and design action that will create sustainable social change.

 

  • We stayed true to our original intention – bringing people together from different backgrounds. We continued to focus on helping people to build connections and relationships with people with whom they have no natural contact points, and in some cases people and groups with whom society has pitted them against. The learning from this work cannot really be put into words but the connections and conversations have been rich and deep and have without exception reinforced the need for this work.

 

  • We have accepted that climate change is ‘the’ issue of our time, but we feel strongly that the debate and the narrative remains firmly in the hands of the privileged. The repercussions of this being that the solutions being developed will not meet the needs of the poor or the ‘just about managing’ families, exemplified by the rush to build the infrastructure for electric charging points at the same time as the ongoing deprioritisation of free or cheap integrated public transport systems.

The ongoing segregation of organisations working on community development and those working on climate change means  that work and projects with communities are often seen seen as either making a social impact or an environmental impact – a false dichotomy that does not serve our communities. Going forward it means that at All1C we understand very clearly the risk as an organisation if we don’t use community engagement and our skills and experience around active citizenship to address climate justice issues.

And so we promise that we will try to move All1C to the next stage of its evolution and story around climate justice and active citizenship which means we need more resources to:

  • enable us to facilitate robust community-led influencing of systems, policy and practice;
  • increase our strategic influencing work and networking;
  • develop further our impact monitoring and evaluation;
  • increase our ability to undertake reflective practice, to document and record learning, and to communicate around our work which includes convening learning spaces for wider VCS networks.

Watch this space…