Transforming lives through igniting community power in place-based partnerships

Transforming lives through igniting community power in place-based partnerships
posted 17 May 2022

Now the dust has settled on another brilliant Stronger Things conference, we’ve been reflecting on the enthusiastic exchange of ideas we encountered during this year’s energising New Local event.

Over the two days, PPL held break-out sessions on ‘Transforming lives by igniting community power in place-based partnerships’, encouraging participants to share their experiences of community power in action. Not only were we inspired by the incredible work happening in partnership with communities across the country – we were heartened to hear so many great examples of work to develop effective place-based partnerships from Manchester to Thurrock, Doncaster to Swansea.

In our continued quest for a community-powered society, we’re sharing the top seven lessons that our participants were most keen to apply to their work with local places (There were many, so drawing up this shortlist has been tough!).

The top seven are:

  1. Build on existing community action – if you look closely, there’s always activity happening locally. Find it and make it your starting point.
  2. Unite around a common goal – this doesn't have to be the perfect initiative, but it does have to be something that can initiate real collaborative work that creates change.
  3. Be more inclusive – from making sure young people are involved in conversations that affect them, to putting time into understanding and reaching out to groups who are seldom heard or included in work on developing community power
  4. Start with questions, not answers – ask what communities want and collate a diverse range of views, then give ownership to the community to help deliver it. You’ll get a much richer outcome.
  5. Invest in communities, with communities – whether that’s through participatory grant-making, bringing communities into funding decisions or pooling budgets to give communities control over resources.
  6. Continue to break down barriers between organisations - this has improved since the pandemic, but we need to continue to work on developing trust and relationships to prevent “the drawbridges going back up”.
  7. Take risks as organisations – continue to develop a growth mindset so failure is seen as part of the journey and lessons are learned and shared. Try stuff out!

Stronger Things might be over for this year, but the movement continues to grow every day. It’s now been a few weeks since the energy and excitement of the event itself and we'd love to hear how you've been inspired to put the ideas we all shared into practice.

If you’d like to chat to one of the PPL team about how you can keep the momentum on community power going in your local place-based partnership, we’d love to hear from you. Give us a call, drop us a line or connect with us on social.

If you’d like to see the full write-up from our breakout sessions, including a reminder of the examples of community power in action that you shared, you can download this from the link below.