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Our July Newsletter is out!

This month we’re talking about community.

  • Local Area Coordination in practice: John and Tara’s Story
  • #SpiritOfLockdown
  • Job vacancies
  • and more…

Read all about it

A note from Nick

Building Blocks of Better: Community

Dear All,

I do hope you’re well?  Thanks for checking out this month’s newsletter.

It’s been another busy month in the world of Local Area Coordination. We’ve been working hard with two new Local Area Coordination sites (Nottinghamshire and Surrey Councils), supporting Luton in their community conversations and helping conversations to develop in new possible places too. The long-awaited book on Local Area Coordination is coming to a conclusion too, with publication imminent – it’s all very exciting. In the existing Network things have been really busy as well.  Working in and around the community with the multiple challenges of Covid remains complex, but it is one that Local Area Coordinators are taking on passionately and creatively.

Talking of community, it just so happens to be this month’s Local Area Coordination principle theme – wow what an impressive segue!

People often ask me if Local Area Coordination is community development. It’s an important question. The short answer is “no”, the medium answer is “hmmm, well, to some degree” and the long answer is this; The starting point of Local Area Coordination is the potential relationship between a Coordinator and a person, their family, their carers, their people etc. Often as that relationship develops it turns out that people feel marginalised from (and sometimes by) their community as a result of their circumstances to which they are seeking practical input to overcome and move closer to their vision of a good life. Through these relationships, we routinely see community build as people work towards that good life with their Local Area Coordinator alongside them. We see this happen through new connections being built locally, people finding their voice and connecting with local supports and perhaps most importantly, people regaining the space to make their contribution in their community. In addition to this, community groups and organisations sometimes invite Local Area Coordinators to support alongside their more structured community building activity. Typically, this is where there are gaps or potential capacity to grow community that is not being realised for one reason or another. Again, Local Area Coordinators would play a supporting role here, never dominating and taking charge, rather building and fostering the natural authority of people to develop their own places. Often this is about helping to connect the dots and make introductions with other people, agencies, organisations and funders etc.

Clare Wightman CEO of the fabulous Grapevine Coventry really helped us reflect on this principle at our conference last year. I thought I’d finish with this very pertinent and powerful quote from her speech:
“It is hard for others to see who you really are once they know what you have been called, and so they stay on their side of the fence. You have to do something if you want to stitch the community back together. You have to do something if you want people to take charge of who they are and who they might become…”

Enjoy the newsletter and your Summer!