Empowering Local Communities

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A presentation for the Institute for Government's Connecting Policy with Practice programme.
The presentation highlights some of The Young Foundation's past work in community empowerment, and shows how web tools can be used to support community engagement and empowerment.

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  • Our history includes establishing some well-known enterprises, including the Open University and recently developed UpRising and Studio Schools. People today face huge challenges and social change is vital. We believe that positive relationships are the key to strong societies, and so work closely with individuals, communities and partners to address a range of social needs. . So whether we’re looking at how to reduce isolation in old age, or at how marginalised young people can reach their full potential, we put relationships right at the heart of everything we do. We’re on the ground, working closely and creatively with individuals, communities and partners to find real solutions to real needs. In this way, we can be sure that our thinking does something, our actions matter and the changes we make together will continue to grow.The Young Foundation. Thinking. Action. Change. youngfoundation.orgApplied Innovation: What is integral to our approach is understanding of needs at grass roots level, and engaging with the communities, agencies and partners who have the ability to deliver change.Building Local Activism: project funded by BIG to focus on how communities can empower themselves through community organising, asset- based community development and digital activism.
  • Transforming Neighbourhoods aimed to promote and accelerate the development of community empowerment and neighbourhood working.Neighbourhood Action Network (NAN) aimed to maximise opportunities for people in neighbourhoods to be involved in local decision-making.Future Communities aimed to build a practical understanding of what can be done to ensure new communities succeed.With the development of social media and hyperlocal media, this experience led to an interest in how digital tools can aid community empowerment. Local 2.0 was a DCLG funded programme to … (bullets)The top image shows a community allotment where organisers used an online forum and social media to encourage people to get involved in their community. Digital Activism was part of the Big Lottery funded Building Local Activism work and … (bullets)The bottom image shows the Hackney CAB Crowdmap campaigners out on the streets of Hackney spreading information and gathering stories to share online.
  • Some examples of how social media has been used by councils and in community campaigning activities…
  • Lessons can be learnt from examples like these for local and central government to find better ways to forge new partnerships, involving citizens and the state working together to generate new ideas, tap into latent community capacity and make better use of local assets. With on going budget cuts locally and centrally, this is continually growing in importance. During Local 2.0, The Young Foundation adapted a framework to help councils to approach social media with less trepidation. Using this framework will help services by providing greater insight with which to redesign delivery. It could also mean that new business models built around social media and other digital technologies emerge.
  • From our Digital Activism work, we identified five key practical tips for campaigners using web tools. Although this advice is aimed at small community organisations looking to campaign on local issues, many of the ideas can be applied wider. All online campaigns – whether they are fighting an issue or gathering stories – should think about these five practical tips.
  • From our community empowerment web work, we have found some thing that work well and some that work less well.
  • Empowering Local Communities

    1. 1. EMPOWERINGLOCALCOMMUNITIESBreakout sessionConnecting Policy with Practice20 June 2013Sophie Hostick-Boakye, Associate
    2. 2. THE YOUNG FOUNDATION• Social innovation and social change• Work with individuals, communitiesand partners to find solutions• Applied Innovation – grass roots,communities and agencies to deliverchange2
    3. 3. THE YOUNG FOUNDATION ANDCOMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT3• Transforming Neighbourhoods, NeighbourhoodAction Network, Future Communities• Led to question how digital tools can helpcommunity empowerment• Local 2.0:• Tested with three local authorities how hyper-local media/Web 2.0 can increase communityvoice• Series of think-pieces• Digital Activism:• Worked with six small community organisationsto explore how free and low-cost tools can helppeople campaign on local issues
    4. 4. HOW TOOLS CAN BE USEDCouncils engaging customers online:• Kirklees Council – Twitter for quick dialogue with residents about local issues• Coventry City Council – Facebook (as Coventry) sharing council informationbut linking people to the place rather than organisation• ASK Bristol – WordPress where Bristol City Council consults residents ondecision makingCampaigners engaging supporters and others online:• Hackney CAB Crowdmap – Twitter, Facebook, WordPress and Crowdmap tohighlight impact of housing benefit changes• Shelve It! – Twitter, Facebook, WordPress and Crowdmap to gather storiesand retailer ratings of lads’ mags displays• Mothers Against Gangs – WordPress to reach out to parents with children atrisk of joining gangs looking for support4
    5. 5. COUNCILS AND SOCIALMEDIAA social media framework for localgovernment:1. Listen to social media users andconversations about local issues2. Participate in conversations, buildingdialogue with citizens through socialmedia – energise, provide spaces tosupport, empower through decisionmaking3. Transform service redesign, replacingor complimenting existing ways ofworking and adopting new models ofworking5
    6. 6. CAMPAIGNERS AND SOCIALMEDIA1. Decide who to engage and what youwant them to do2. Collaborate3. Keep content accessible and up-to-date4. Maintain momentum5. Target influencers to amplify yourmessage6
    7. 7. ENGAGING THE COMMUNITYUSING WEB TOOLSWhat works well:• Can reach a wide range of people• Allows people to take part as muchas they want and when it suits them• Can help strengthen relationshipsand share information• Issues that emerge on communitysites are more likely to be raised inoffline meetings or forums• Can help to connect residents inneed with active local residentswilling and ready to help.What works less well:• Not everyone is online• Not everyone is confident using webtools• Not everyone wants to formrelationships with institutions orneighbours• Requires time and dedication• Not a one size fits all• Web is not a silver bullet forcommunity engagement7• Community interaction online mirroredwith community interaction offline• Core group of people participate inonline interaction
    8. 8. @_YF_Applied / @the_young_fdn