Blogs written by us, on either our site or an external site

Reframing care for our world as participatory people-led politics

“The natural world is being destroyed and it is a moral imperative to preserve and reconstitute as much of it as possible as soon as possible.” In this blog Jez Hall discusses how re-framing the debate on climate change is about how we build a fairer, greener, and political ‘shared future’. One where dialogue, social action and a people powered democracy is our new normal.

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Beyond the ballot: How citizens can lead the climate change conversation

West Midlands Mental Health Commission Citizens Jury discuss their findings

Over recent months, as climate change has been propelled into the political mainstream, there has been an upsurge in interest in the role of deliberative processes such as Citizens’ Assemblies and Citizens’ Juries, too. An Assembly is a key demand of Extinction Rebellion, for example. Will politicians act or just nod? In this blog Pete Bryant and Rebecca Willis consider how getting the conditions right makes action more likely.

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What’s in a name: The thorny definition of ‘social enterprise’.

Woman at a community meeting, holding up a 'Building Vibrant Community' ideas sheet

In a recent meeting with colleagues representing different sides of the perennial social enterprise definition debate, we again stumbled, or struggled to agree. There is of course some official definitions, but everyone still seems to feel we need to broaden or narrow it. It sometimes feels like we are a lot of navel gazers dancing on the head of a pin! Which sounds difficult and dangerous.

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Citizens Assemblies, Citizens’ Juries and Climate Change

Fracking Inquiry 2016

Citizens Assemblies have gone mainstream, no longer are they the preserve of democracy geeks. The potential of ‘mini publics‘ in bringing together a diverse group of citizens to deliberate, reach consensus and deliver a mandate for action to their local and national politicians is fascinating. Especially, when we consider the complex nature of so many problems that our elected officials must grapple with, from Brexit to artificial intelligence to climate change. Peter Bryant tells us more in his new blog.

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Empowering Pupils through Participatory Budgeting in Schools

PB in Schools image

Schools play a central role in developing the life-skills and confidence of young people. Participatory budgeting (PB) is a proven deliberative process that can inspire, empower and engage young people in a cooperative, democratic and purposeful way. Bringing the two together has many positive benefits for schools, for society and for young people.

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Journey into Social Enterprise: Long March or Walking the Talk?

GMSEN mural

Jez Hall of Shared Future and Lynn Sbaih of Give2Gain had the privilege of running a two hour session at the recent Greater Manchester Social Enterprise conference on the ‘Journey of Social Enterprise’. Our purpose was to explore the motivations and reasons why people got into social enterprise, and then, to think more widely about what sustained individuals on their journey.

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“Our voice is being heard at last”… building social inclusion through Participatory Budgeting

Rochdale PB

Social isolation is a key requirement towards promoting wellbeing and preventing undue pressure on public services, such as costly hospital admissions. With an elderly mother of my own who is increasingly needing care at home it’s a subject close to my heart. Not least because of my passion for Participatory Budgeting (PB), that aims to include citizen voice, and can reduce social isolation whenever and wherever public money is being spent.

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Solid as a rock, or brittle as broken glass

Now in its 9th year, the Citizen Participation University (CPU) is an annual gathering of community activists, organisers and developers, from across Europe, but also reaching out to the USA and into Turkey. Over 50 people came together, for 4 days, to talk, act out and share their best practice. A real powerhouse of community inspiration, and a rare opportunity to think outside of our boxes.

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University budgets and participatory governance: A sandbox for democracy?

If two heads are better than one… what about 10 heads, or 100, or 67,000. Could Universities spearhead a new form of more open democratic accountability in educational Institutions? Would your school or college trust its learners, and use Participatory Budgeting to set just some of its budget? Or do we continue to believe the Vice-Chancellor always knows best?

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