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Our September Newsletter is out!

Local Area Coordination in England and Wales

September 2023

Updates on Local Area Coordination, the work of the Network and
the areas implementing the approach.

In this edition we’ll be covering:

  • Hello and Welcome
  • ‘Local Area Coordination in Leicestershire: One Year On’
  • Publications
  • Vacancies
  • Events, Training & Campaigns
  • Useful Blogs
  • New Social Leaders Course

Read all about it here.

Sign up to receive future copies here.

Green circle reading 'news'A note from from Nick Sinclair,
Director of the Local Area Coordination Network

Greetings all!

Nick here, and thanks for taking the time to check out September’s newsletter. It’s been another action-packed month with loads to share. Special thanks to Lily for her fantastic work in putting this together.

This month, I’ve had the privilege of working closely with our new council members, Oxfordshire and South Tyneside, as we engage in conversations about Local Area Coordination with various individuals and groups. This prompted me to share some reflections on the importance of good conversations during the Local Area Coordination design process.

One of the fabulous things about initiating Local Area Coordination is the wealth of conversations it sparks with passionate champions of social change. These conversations begin with Local Authority and Health leaders exploring strategies to shift available resource focus from crisis management towards capacity building. They can stretch over months or even years before we hit the ground running. The nuanced beauty of Local Area Coordination isn’t always easy to convey, particularly during times of crisis and amidst similar-sounding initiatives. It’s an approach that needs to be experienced to be fully understood, emphasising the value of our supportive Network in having conversations with new areas exploring it. Once we gain momentum though, we swiftly focus on bringing local people and communities into the heart of the design conversation.

The ambition is always to introduce Local Area Coordination in a way that authentically includes local people in the process, drawing from their input, ideas, and unique perspectives. Many become crucial allies in recruiting their Local Area Coordinator, a powerful way to instil a sense of ownership, shift power dynamics, and, most importantly, find the right person for the role. It’s crucial that we are also respectfully listening to and collaborating with local groups and organisations that already thrive within these communities. Conversations here often revolve around how Local Area Coordination can complement and support their existing initiatives. We clarify its purpose, the guiding principles, and how it can add value rather than detract. We are clear that Local Area Coordination focuses on providing accessible, universal support coordination within a community, based on a set of powerful principles. It’s not therefore about “coordinating local areas”, but enhancing natural agency for people and communities. We also explore practical ways in which groups and organisations can introduce people to a Local Area Coordinator, and how the Local Area Coordinator could support their wider work too. Additionally, we delve into the evidence showing how Local Area Coordination helps people who were once on the fringes of their community to participate and share their gifts, contributing to the wider greater good and efforts.

Conversations with local citizens are often less focused on the what and why of ‘complementary fit’ and more on the how, i.e. the practical application of the work and what the relationship should look and feel like. We have conversations sparked by questions like, “how could I introduce my mum to this?” or “could I have one of these Coordinators in my own life?” and “where would these Coordinators be?”. Wonderful questions sparking wonderful conversations about how we could bring this vision to life together.

The journey in Local Area Coordination is paved with enriching conversations that seek to bridge gaps, and build both connections and power in people, families, and communities. We look forward to continuing this incredible conversation with all of you too. Stay tuned for more exciting updates and stories of positive change in our next newsletter.

Nick Sinclair