There are two viruses affecting our world. The Covid19 pandemic and racism. One natural, one manmade. Both affecting some more than others. People centred approaches are at the heart of building back better. Public bodies can support and enable resilient communities and tackle social injustice by putting public money at the disposal of citizens; to better serve their needs, and to rebuild trust in our government and between people.
Shared Future CIC facilitated three online PB Youth Accelerator workshop sessions on 21st-22nd April 2020. The first a knowledge exchange workshop, with invited participants from Scotland based Participatory Budgeting programmes, to explore in greater depth the unique features of their work. The second, an online ‘Open Space’ considered how the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting democratic participation and youth empowerment, and the third explored Legislative Theatre, a creative way to develop a more deliberative democracy. Find out more.
We’re excited to see the birth of numerous new community led mutual aid groups eager to help their neighbours. Every neighbourhood has tremendous people with untapped skills and experience.
When we join together we are a vital lifeline for those who are bearing the brunt of Covid-19; whether for those physically distancing themselves or those who might not have access to the support they need in this crisis.
Getting and keeping people together is however sometimes easier said than done. At Shared Future our long experience of community development and community organising suggests that there are certain things to be thinking about when undertaking a much-needed community-led response.
Following public health guidance, we, like many companies, have been changing how we work. All face to face meetings have been cancelled, and we are switching to online meetings. We continue to operate and intend to continue to do so.
Our staff and associates are being supported to work from home (as we all already do), and we are responding to emails, phone calls and other contact as normal. As an organisation used to working remotely we are putting our resources and skills to serve other organisations and individuals however and wherever we can.
The safety and wellbeing of vulnerable people is our priority.
Between September and November 2019, over fifty residents from four areas of Dudley Borough took part in seven sessions of deliberation, to produce a set of recommendations to answer the question:
“For people living in Dudley Borough, what can we all do together to help people be healthy”
Members of the four Citizens Inquiries shared their experiences and opinions in a highly participatory process, supplemented by community research conducted in their neighbourhoods by 18 Inquiry members.
Thirty local people are helping to develop a new action plan to tackle one of the biggest issues facing the world today – climate change. Lancaster City Council has convened a People’s Jury on climate change, a pioneering way of involving ordinary people in advising the council and others on how best to combat the problem. Shared Future CIC are facilitating the Peoples’ Jury, which is being held at the Storey Institute in Lancaster over February and March 2020
Julie Jarman, whilst working with Church Action on Poverty created this simple overview of the principles of Sustainable Livelihoods for us. She explains through the use of a real life scenario why it can be a rational and sensible choice to forego a low wage income and instead prioritise ‘social goods’.
It’s the season to be celebrating with our friends, neighbours and families. As we wrap up another year ( and it’s the 10th Christmas since we formed Shared Future CIC) we have been reflecting on what has changed, and why the idea of a shared future remains close to our heart. Together we are stronger.
What links Participatory Budgeting and Social Enterprise? Through reflecting on long-term qualitative learning of Participatory Budgeting in the UK, viewed through a social economy lens, we found that Participatory Budgeting, in and of itself, stimulates the development of new cooperatives and sustained social action.
‘What should Leeds do about the emergency of climate change?’ This was the question that 25 randomly selected residents from across the Leeds city region agreed to thrash out over nine sessions between September and November 2019. Their bold recommendations make fascinating reading; taking back control of the local bus services into public ownership, the halting of local airport expansion, retrofitting of housing through local social enterprises and more.
There is a very real desire to make Participatory Budgeting more deliberative and thoughtful. One of the concerns about voting is that it doesn’t force people to think through the options. That PB needs more deliberation. Nevertheless Jez Hall of PB Partners/Shared Future CIC argues that the vote is crucial for legitimacy and trust within a PB processes.