Some of these collaborations are long-running, such as our relationship with Social Enterprise Lancashire Network (SELNET) or the Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation (GMCVO), through our common interest in social enterprise development and community-led design. Jez Hall is, for example, a long-standing director of SELNET, and has over many years developed innovative new projects with GMCVO, as well as delivered training on their behalf.
Other partnerships are very specific and focussed on growing innovations in participatory democracy, such as with organisations like Mutual Gain, Involve or DemSoc, with whom we collaborate to promote Participatory Budgeting and deliberative democracy. We also provide secretarial support to the UK PB Network.
As Participatory Budgeting has grown, so has our reach, and so we now collaborate with organisations in Scotland such as the Scottish Community Development Centre, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and the Scottish Improvement Service.
We nurture our links with academic institutions, like UCLan, Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Westminster and Lancaster University, and regularly participate in academic conferences and contribute to academic research on a wide range of subjects.
Over the years we have also recognised the importance of working beyond the UK, and have co-delivered projects with the consultancy Strategihuset, based in Denmark, and we are currently engaging with the Europe-wide Empatia project, which is exploring the role of digital technologies in citizen engagement with public authorities.
We purposely seek to blur the boundaries between partners, collaborators and clients. Our business model is of a wide associate network, who take on innovative projects where we accompany organisations, large and small, that seek to work in line with our own mission and value.