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David Wilcox

Join us to discuss how Londoners can connect and influence development of the city

2 min read

We have a few free places for our cafe conversation session on Thursday afternoon, July 20. Here's the flyer.

We'll be discussing "How can we connect Londoners so that they can have a greater influence over the future development of their city?"

I know it is going to be a great event because of the topic on the one hand, and on the other because it will be facilitated by David Gurteen.

It will be chance to learn how David uses an apparently simple framework for an event that enables some rich conversations. It will be a lesson in itself in how to help people connect - and I'm sure that the insights generated will give us fresh ideas about how to influence London's development.

More here about David's Cafes, which he has now run in 32 countries.

Among those attending will be key people from initiative to reframe support for London civil society, and from the recent community-led response .

I hope we'll develop some shared ways forward, drawing on the TWA conference and last week's OWA event.

The cafe will be from 1pm to 5pm July 21 at LVSC, c/o Voluntary Action Islington, Conference room, 200a Pentonville Road, N1 9JP.

Please let Matthew Scott know if you are coming or tweet me @davidwilcox

David Wilcox

Joining up the dots to show #OurWayAhead

5 min read

Yesterday's event about building stronger London communities was a terrific success, both for the content and in providing insights into where next for Connecting Londoners and other initiatives.

A look at tweets shows the diversity of discussion, and of those attending.


There were some great presentations, and lively open spaces discussions around these topics.

  • What good qualities do we have in common and how can we make these good qualities more common and stronger
  • Hate Crime Bystanders
  • To create a performance machine/system that demonstrates the shared/skills and abilities of us all but also highlights and showcases the way forward
  • How can we improve access for deaf and disabled people across all of London
  • No more asking - taking back power and voice
  • Could London have its own currency to share skills and resources LETS link London
  • Supporting vulnerable young people (mainly care leavers) transitioning into independence - building foundations, emotional support etcetera solid understanding acceptance of the self
  • How can we make sure that everyone legal rights are respected? - so they can challenge decisions by public authorities - so they can get expert advice and representation with the right way ahead - so rights have meaning, and value and justice is not just rich man's law
  • Let's mobilise for mental health
  • What is happening to our community assets? centres, youth clubs, libraries, parks allotments? How can we keep them going? How can we resource them?
  • Access for deaf and disabled people in London is a postcode lottery. How can we create an equal pan-London approach to accessibility.
  • What can universities do to contribute?
  • How to encourage the huge variety of the people in London to listen and understand each other and so build peace and happiness.
  • To create new accessible media that gives a genuine voice to communities for the social and economic regeneration of communities
  • Hostile immigration policies - communities and resistance
  • Physical spaces for the voluntary sector to meet
  • Why aren't we talking about food and living space?
  • Planning for Greener London - air-quality, community energy, green space, sustainable city
  • Quality of life and well-being - coping, creativity, identity, social, physical
  • Is it all about austerity rather than government priorities - i.e. segregation/institutionalisation versus inclusion
  • Minorities and Brexit - are you thinking what I'm thinking and what can we do about it?
  • We have the Mayor of London and the young Mayor in local areas. Why not have a disabled Mayor?
  • how can government spend money differently to promote community inclusion rather than segregation
  • Systems thinking what people say what matters or journeys
  • Digital inclusion

John Popham livestreamed the event, and I'll hold off further reporting of the content until recordings are available, and we have worked our way through the flip charts.

At the start of the day Drew Mackie and I handed out a printed basemap of connections of some London organisations and groups, and invited people to add their own group or organisation, if not on the map, and draw in further connections.

Drew then transcribed the sheets into the Kumu software we are using to build the map online.


We are still tidying up the map, but we know that we added some 100 new nodes. Here's how it looked on screen at the end of the day


What was evident from conversations - and confirmed by the mapping - is that London has a huge and diverse range of community talents and assets - but they are not very well connected. People may know about those groups and organisations in their particular field, and some central organisations, but not those in associated fields who might be helpful.

One of the ideas floated at yesterday's event was creating a strong movement for community groups. That didn't really catch on because, I think, there were so many diverse challenges to talk about, and there's much to do in building connections and shared purpose.

That's where I think Connecting Londoners can help, both through the initial projects we are developing - outlined here - and extending and deepening the mapping.

I'll update in a day or so on how we could do that, but briefly we can construct a survey into people's projects, interests and capabilities, and their communication preferences and willingness to share. That would give us the basis for planning how to strengthen networking, and the "network ourselves" approach I outline here in writing about How to move TheWayAhead into the networked age by Connecting Londoners .

We could do more to join up the dots - or rather, help people do their own joining up. The planning group for Our Way Ahead is meeting next week, and I'm sure there will be a wealth of other ideas from that.

We'll also be able to generate more ideas at a Cafe conversation on Thursday July 20, facilitated by David Gurteen There are only a few places available, so please get in touch with me directly if you are interested: Cafe details here

Update: Here's a brief report on the mapping exercise

David Wilcox

Why #OurWayAhead will be #GoodforLDN civil society

5 min read

Today some 180 people passionate about the future of London communities are getting togther to share ideas about how to organise social action and support local groups in the face of funding cuts and major social challenges.

A few weeks ago London funding organisations and their partners held an official event on how to support civil society organisations, as part of The Way Ahead initiative.

Our Way Ahead Organisations

There were many excellent proposals, but some activists at that event argued that there wasn't sufficient recognition of the role of grass-roots organisations. In a short time a group of networks, supported by Matt Scott of the London Voluntary Service Council, organised their response - Our Way Ahead. We are meeting this afternoon at London Metropolitan University from 1pm with a started scheduled for 2pm.

There will be lots on Twitter, if you follow , and John Popham will be live streaming and doing interviews. I'll be helping with that, and also working with Drew Mackie to create a living map of London networks.

Matt Scott and researcher Matt Pugh have created a basic network map of key London organisations and networks in London civil society, and we'll invite people to add their organisations and connections.

Network map

Drew Mackie - who is working with me and Matt on the Networked City initiative - will then update and display the emerging map on the wall - all being well. I'll report later.

We'll also be tweeting with the tag , because at our planning meeting we agreed that we needed a London dimension to tweets. I suggested Good for London because I remembered that back at the start of our Networked City exploration I wrote:

Let’s talk about to make sense of civil society, a networked city and

Signups are going well for our event tomorrow about London as a networked and neighbourly city, creating a Living Lab to help reframe civil society, using tech to support social action.

It’s about all of those things, and I suspect each idea resonates with different interests. I think that’s a problem, and we need an idea and a tag everyone can understand. How about ?

Behind the rather abstract terms I’ve been using so far in these posts is the idea that we need to rethink how people and organisations doing good cooperate and collaborate in the networked age, where the Internet is changing so much about the way we lead our lives, and the relationships, interests and activities we can develop.

I was looking for a term, a tag, that embraces the broad idea of action for social good - whether by individuals, community groups, charities, public agencies or social businesses.

That is a key idea in the official The Way Ahead reports

We begin with three beliefs: first, that a thriving civil society is good for Londoners; second, that in order to achieve a strong and vibrant civil society, just like any other sector, civil society organisations need access to appropriate support, as well as a ‘voice’ within the debates about London; and third that London faces both challenges and opportunities which mean we need to rethink how that support and voice is best provided to civil society in London.

The Way Ahead proposes a system that puts London’s communities at the heart of the way we all work. It begins with co-producing an understanding of need and how to tackle it with our communities, through to better sharing of intelligence and data across all sectors, and making sure that civil society’s voice is heard in decision-making at a strategic level.

I think people in Our Way Ahead agree with that ... and I hope that might be a tag that can be used to bring together "official" ideas and ones developed today. There's lots you can do with Twitter to gather ideas, spark conversations and build networks if you agree a tag. I'm interested in how far we can get. If we need it, I'm happy to offer which I've registered.

I think the benefit that Our Way Ahead will bring to The Way Ahead is a street-level perspective on what life is like in London today, and what can be done by citizens and community groups to support and complement more official actions.

Summary of previous posts, and other references here

David Wilcox

How #TheWayAhead for @LondonFunders is becoming #OurWayAhead for Londoners

3 min read

Last week's official event about The Way Ahead for London's civil society, organised by London Funders and their partners, was followed by a less formal workshop on Friday including representatives of key networks supporting Londoners.

Our Way Ahead flyer

The concensus echoed discussion at the official event about more community input, and the words of community activist Richard Lee that I reported:

When we look at The Way Ahead Change documents, and the proposals for the hub, do they actually also include these community voices, these activists, those doing things voluntarily, those who are part of small community groups? They don't, and I’m not alone in thinking this.

There are other people in the room today who equally feel we cannot give consent to these documents as they stand.

So on Friday people decided that as well as pressing for changes in plans to develop a London resource hub, and the support systems for front line organisations, they would develop their own ideas, initially at an event on July 12.

London networks

An OPEN event to build voice, agency and grassroots infrastructure at a time of crisis and division.

Aiming to network and contribute to a wider movement that is democratic, sustainable and genuinely supportive of each other.

Includes storytelling, open space, testimonies and presentations from community organisations.

Time to reflect and plan action:

Brexit, Austerity, many more

Let’s share our experiences, agree common purpose and plan for collective action.

At The Way Ahead event project officer Geraldine Blake said:

I liked Richard's point that we change the tone of of the Change Plans to make sense of them to frontline community organisations and activists. That’s absolutely something we'll feed in.

I'm very very keen to be part of the event in a few weeks and feed that in to The Way Ahead Change Plan. What we want is the strongest possible plan that means something to all the people that need to be involved in actually making it happen.

So there's a real chance of bringing together work on The Way Ahead from the past year with further ideas developed on July 12, and afterwards. I'll follow up with some ideas on how we might do that.

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