By Taz Virdee
Bringing it all together! The Local Trust invited Big Local partnerships across the country to attend the Spring Event in London. This was an opportunity for everybody to meet, learn and share their Big Local stories.
Saturday 9am: Team Heston West (Debbie, Sharnjeet, Taz and Zeenat) arrived at Hounslow West Station – raring to learn more about the Big Local. An hour later we arrived at Friends House (in Euston, Kings Cross) – after a few teas and coffees, Debbie Ladds – the chief executive of Local Trust – warmly welcomed everybody. Debbie then led a very informative presentation about the Local Trust and how the Big Local process, partnership and progamme works. Using jigsaw pieces we were then invited to tap into our creative minds – when asked: ‘What do you bring to your Big Local area?’
Using the pieces we drew very elegantly (with stick men) our personality, our passions and our goals. This was a fantastic fun exercise that got us thinking about how we can make a difference to our area with the skills and ideas we have.
‘Make your mind up!’
Next week (May 3rd) our committee will be meeting to discuss ideas for our second year – so we thought we’d take the opportunity and attend the ‘Make your mind up!’ workshop led by Helen Garforth from Just Ideas. Through a series of engaging activities we were able to pick up practical techniques for prioritising our ideas, developing them into an action plan and learning how to explore and interrogate our ideas further. Committee member Zeenat said: “I really enjoyed this session. It gave me a greater understanding of exploring priorities and needs in the local community.”
We next attended the ‘Community Wellbeing’ workshop presented by S018 Big Local from Southampton – from Helen Pain and Suzanne Gee. They explained (through community fun day events) how they enabled local residents to try out new activities. They also explained how they created a community hub (from an old shop) for people to come together to spark ideas and set up new resident-led projects. During this session we also explored methods and techniques to better understand peoples ‘agenda’ and how to get people to sign up for activities.
‘Cracking the Communication Code’
After a fantastic lunch – the final workshop we attended was ‘Cracking the Communication Code,’ led by Chrissie Wright from Directory of Social Change. In this fun and stimulating workshop we were taught about assumptions (treating people equally yes, but the same, probably not) and new approaches to developing our communication styles. We learnt that communication isn’t just flyers, newsletters or banners – it’s about understanding and tailoring our communication approach to each individual.
‘I was able to feel a sense of community’
After the event committee member Debbie said: “I found the Local Trust Spring event to be extremely informative. The workshops gave the opportunity for us to learn and explore new ideas. Coming here today I was able to feel a sense of community. It was good to meet other partnership members as well.”
‘Better understanding how Local Trust and the Big Local work’