David Wilcox, Drew Mackie and Matt Scott
Our Way Ahead and Connecting Londoners ran a workshop with about 50 people on November 16 2017 at London Metropolitan University to play through how to develop networked support systems for civil society.
During an hour and a half session we heard about current plans for support systems focussed on a Hub; adopted roles from concerned citizen to network leader and council officer; reviewed challenges and ideas from a consultant’s report; developed further ideas, and then chose methods and actions to carry them out.
We negotiated how we could support each other with funding, endorsement, and sharing. And we decided who could deliver on the ideas.
We then captured our reports of the project ideas on video - and discussed what we had learned from the session.
The next steps will be to develop a community of practice to support each other in taking these and other ideas forward. First thoughts here.
Over the next few months decisions will be made affecting the support systems for Londoners in local communities and across the capital.
The London Council for Voluntary Services (LVSC), umbrella organisation for 120,000 community groups, networks and charities groups and organisations, has closed after 107 years, and we are in the final stages of a review of alternatives supported by London funders and called The Way Ahead (TWA). The Greater London Authority is also undertaking a review.
The main solution is a London resource Hub, incorporated as a charitable company based on Greater London Volunteering, and now funded with £350,000 for its first year.
We want to build accessible digital community platforms, research and map grassroots community activity, to facilitate collaboration, strengthen local platforms and spaces for action and build the voice of those at the grassroots level. The OWA Planning Group work collectively in solidarity with local campaigns to build a grassroots movement for social justice in London and the immediate hinterland of communities affected by the state of affairs London.
In order to design the workshop, we analysed the report produced by Steve Wyler for LVSC about the Hub:
The Wyler report is featured on the TWA site as “outlining what a future 'London Hub' would look like and entails”. There are also links there to a Change Plan, and commitments of directors of Councils for Voluntary Service.
An advisory group is discussing how these ideas, or others, might shape the development of the Hub and associated systems. David Wilcox and Christine Goodall are members of the advisory group, on behalf of Our Way Ahead, and one aim for the workshop was to provide input to the group.
We felt that rather than an abstract discussion of support systems, we would take the main ideas and recommendations in the report and make them the basis for a simulation. Here’s the main documents and materials.
We had terrific support from community work students at London Met, who also took part in the workshop.
The instructions for participants said:
“The aim of this workshop is to explore how we can connect, co-operate and collaborate to make London a better place to live and work for everyone.
“The focus is on making use of the resources that we have by building networks and relationships - as well as finding new resources where possible.
“We hope that our ideas will inform development of the new London Hub for London, responsible for developing civil society support systems, and will in any case help us form some new relationships ourselves.”
The event started with presentations from Matt Scott and David Wilcox summarising the issues and setting the context. The gaming session started by clearing the chairs to the side of the room so that participants could move freely.
Badges and Tags Badges denoting various roles were laid out on a side table and participants were asked to choose a role. Some players were able to play their real roles.
On one side of the room several ‘challenges’ were posted on the wall. On the other side of the room sample ‘ideas’ - possible initiatives to address the challenges - were posted on the wall. Each consisted of a description and methods that might be used to take the idea forward. The methods were represented by cards stuck to the ideas sheets. Players could select an idea to promote or create new. Alternatively, players could wait to see what ideas emerged and then provide support for preferred initiatives.
The play of the game consisted of discussing the initiatives and exchanging support tickets. Each player's badge held a different set of `support’ tickets denoting:
Each method card needed 2 support tickets and the overall idea sheet needed an ‘Adopt/Deliver’ ticket if the idea was to considered successful. Successful ideas were posted on the wall beside the challenges.
Negotiation was conducted freely between roles and a total of 13 ideas completed the process. At the end of the session, players presented their idea (3 min Max.) and this was videoed.
We recorded presentations of most of the ideas generated during the game, and Drew Mackie created an interactive map.
Playlist of video presentations - play through below