Calling all involved in social and environmental justice or community voice – you are invited!

You are invited to “Connecting, Learning and Growing together” – a free half day workshop by Just Ideas – on Monday 20th June 2022 from 9.30am to 12.30pm on Zoom.

What’s on offer

This online peer learning initiative is designed to support individuals like yourself to:

  • share learning and build skills, networks and confidence
  • access personal and professional development
  • experience the creativity, energy and ideas that come from facilitated reflection and bouncing ideas around with a diverse group of peers

This is for you and your colleagues if you are …

  • stepping into or changing jobs within the social justice sector
  • working in a community-facing role within the public sector
  • working creatively with communities for transformation.

Tap into the wisdom

We’re bringing together the wisdom and experience of people who have worked with communities and organisations in the sector in different capacities for many years with the curiosity, questions and ideas of those new to this world, providing mutual inspiration and support.

For more information and to register,  please cut and paste the following registration link in to your browser –  https://forms.monday.com/forms/ab923d611cc9cdc3b45a05c8f1575e48?r=use1

New report published: Big Local relationships with public agencies

 

We are delighted to announce the publishing of a new report – commissioned by Local Trust – which examines the  relationships between Big Local areas and the public agencies they connect with.

The report was written and researched by a team from Just Ideas – Directors Helen Garforth and Richard Usher with Leila Baker, Véronique Jochum, Graeme Fancourt, Amardeep Kainth, Lisa Meaney and Charlotte Pace. It sits within a wider context of growing policy emphasis on public involvement in local decision-making and draws on the experience and insights of Big Local community members. We thank them for their time and commitment to the research.

To access the report please visit the Local Trust website here.

Film: Community responses to Covid 19

A reflection by Richard Usher, Director of Just Ideas. 

So much was learnt and shared over two years working with the Third Sector Research Centre team and being alongside communities across England in their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. This short film brings to life some of the issues and key responses that people in communities made from the first lockdown in 2020. It explores how different communities fared during the pandemic and provides an insight into the impact of crisis on communities, and the factors shaping their resilience, response and recovery. There are reflections on the resourcefulness and rapidity of the initial response, that was mirrored across the country, and examples of the toll this also took in the move from emergency action to enduring the ongoing impact of COVID-19.

On a personal note, it is great to hear and see Tony Littley, Chair of Brookside Big Local – who Just Ideas have also worked with – contributing to the film.

Commissioned by Local Trust, the findings of this research provide an insight into the impact of crisis on communities, and the factors shaping their resilience, response and recovery. Please do check out the learning that was shared by the team as we went here 

The first Just Ideas Associates Collaborative Day of 2022

A blog by Bertie Cairns, who has recently joined us as an Associate of Just Ideas. 

At the heart of the Just Ideas approach is using the energy of collaboration to help our clients make positive change. In this spirit, we invited our wonderful associates to the first Collaborative Day of 2022.

We really value the skills that our associates bring to Just Ideas and we designed the day as a space where people could share their wisdom and their practical experience.

Here’s just a taster of what we got up to:

We loved the workshop on how to generate powerful discussions. Laura Wallis, who led the activity, used her expertise in mental health as an example. We were asked to consider challenging ideas about our attitudes to wellbeing and place them on a continuum.

  • How far did we agree that wellbeing was more important than mental health?
  • Should we prioritise limited resources on research into causes or care for the suffering?

No right answers! And, as we listened to other perspectives, we found our views shifting, balancing, reframing. Here was a space that safely facilitated deep thought.

It was such a beautifully simple, transferrable technique that we used it with a client a few days later when helping a team collaborate with questions like: Is it important to like your team members?

At the end of the day, we were struck by the power of a simple tool called “strength stories” which builds on the power of collaboration and active listening. It works like this: recount a challenging event to a partner or group. The role of the listeners is to reflect back to the speaker where they were demonstrating positive qualities. This activity stopped us taking our skills for granted and reminded us where we are strong. At the end of the day, this really increased the energy level and showcased the wonderfully skilled people we work with. Our associates are passionate about creating positive change through connecting with people and it was wonderful to see the diverse ways in which they were working for climate and social justice, for disability rights and improving health. What we also saw was that they share our passion for making connections, for working collaboratively, for learning and growing.

In our collaborative day, we wanted to hear and value the voices of our associates and for them to hear each other’s wisdom. Collaborative practices are at the heart of how we work with clients. It felt important therefore to put that into our own practice with our team. We found that working as an associate can often feel a little isolated and we wanted to draw our team together. We learned hugely from working, listening and being together and participating in techniques that our associates use every day. We felt hugely enriched by the day and we hope everyone who came did too.

We can’t wait for the next one!

Together We Plan!

‘Together We Plan!’ is a new resource that we worked on for Local Trust, bringing together the insights and experience of Big Local areas as they responded to community priorities during the COVID-19 crisis.

The handbook offers useful approaches for Big Local partnerships in developing and planning their work during these uncertain times. We’re really grateful for the experience and insight that was shared during the development of the handbook – and it has relevance for anyone working in a community group setting.

If you are in a Big Local or community group setting it will help you:

  • Focus outwards and look at what you have learned about your community and ways of
    working during COVID-19.
  • Focus inwards and think about the needs of your group, building your strengths and skills in the way you work.
  • Explore how you can use what you have learned to make plans for the future which meet new community needs.

We look forward to hearing how people have been taking up the ideas, activities and tools from the handbook.

Community Conversations about health and care – come and join us!

At Just Ideas we are delighted to be working with longstanding partners WSA Community Consultants to support 100 conversations about health and care across Britain between now and May. Our partnership is working for a new charity Engage Britain on their Health and Care project, which aims to get people talking about what matters most to them about health and care: sharing ideas, stories and solutions. Engage Britain will then ensure those voices are heard and ideas discussed by movers and shakers across health and care policy to put people’s voice and experience at the heart of decision-making. Find out more here.

Just Ideas and WSA Community Consultants will be hosting some conversations and would really welcome your input if you are interested in sharing you experience and views on health and care. Each conversation will last 90 minutes. There is no prep work needed – we are keen to hear your stories, experiences and views.

These sessions will be on Zoom, and small and friendly. Currently they are planned for:

Thursday 25th March, 1.30–3pm
Thursday 22nd April, 6-7.30 pm
Thursday 13th May, 10-11.30 am

If you would like to join us let us know by emailing helen@just-ideas.co.uk

Everything you say will feed into Engage Britain building their understanding of solutions that people and communities think will make a difference, to then use this in moving forward to influence policy makers. We hope to welcome you at a conversation!

Mental health matters in our communities

With COVID-19 continuing to take a toll on mental health in our communities, it has been inspiring to kick off new work with Local Trust to support mental health in Big Local areas.

Read more

“Power in our Hands” – Looking back on eight years of Big Local

At Just Ideas we are honoured that Local Trust have drawn on our work in production of a recent paper on resident-led decision making.

Read more

Just Ideas’ and WSA named Practitioner of the Month by At My Best

One of the tools used by the Just Ideas team regularly are At My Best cards and we are delighted to have been named as their Practitioner of the Month joint with WSA.

Read more

Gambia blog – Taking time out to work hard

Recently Just Ideas Director Helen Garforth travelled to the Gambia with charity Caplor Horizons to facilitate training with two different local organisations. In this first blog from the trip, Helen describes the motivation behind the journey and some of the stories that have inspired her from this project.

Read more