Category Archives: Big Society

Programme promoted by the UK coalition government

All posts Big Society

BIG’s People Powered Change may catalyse a more bottom-up big society

With the launch this week of People Powered Change, the Big Lottery sets out its plans for a distinctive niche in the Big Society agenda, supporting local bottom-up community projects.
My interest in Friday’s launch in Salford has so far centred on funding for the York Square Mile digital platform. This aims at developing “8000 local democracies” for community-based action through a mix of advice, signposts to funding, local web sites and benefits for anyone who joins the mutual. Earlier stories here and here on this blog, with discussion over on Our Society. On balance, so far I’m in favour.
However, the £5 million-plus Big Lottery package is much broader, involving collaboration with Unltd on a BIG Venture Challenge, supporting social entrepreneurs; NESTA on its Neighbourhood Challenge programme; and the Young Foundation. One of the Foundation’s initiatives is to launch the Citizens University, with NESTA, providing training for local social action. read more »

All posts Big Society

BIG's People Powered Change may catalyse a more bottom-up big society

With the launch this week of People Powered Change, the Big Lottery sets out its plans for a distinctive niche in the Big Society agenda, supporting local bottom-up community projects.
My interest in Friday’s launch in Salford has so far centred on funding for the York Square Mile digital platform. This aims at developing “8000 local democracies” for community-based action through a mix of advice, signposts to funding, local web sites and benefits for anyone who joins the mutual. Earlier stories here and here on this blog, with discussion over on Our Society. On balance, so far I’m in favour.
However, the £5 million-plus Big Lottery package is much broader, involving collaboration with Unltd on a BIG Venture Challenge, supporting social entrepreneurs; NESTA on its Neighbourhood Challenge programme; and the Young Foundation. One of the Foundation’s initiatives is to launch the Citizens University, with NESTA, providing training for local social action. read more »

All posts Big Society

Your Square Mile aims for “8000 local democracies”

Things are developing on the Your Square Mile front in advance of the announcement next week of substantial Big Lottery funding, which I reported first here. I’ve now also written a summary of past developments over here on Our Society.
I’m delighted to discover that there is now an official holding page and video for YSM, in advance of a more substantial site, and it fills out the very ambitious vision that BIG will be supporting. read more »

All posts Big Society

Your Square Mile aims for "8000 local democracies"

Things are developing on the Your Square Mile front in advance of the announcement next week of substantial Big Lottery funding, which I reported first here. I’ve now also written a summary of past developments over here on Our Society.
I’m delighted to discover that there is now an official holding page and video for YSM, in advance of a more substantial site, and it fills out the very ambitious vision that BIG will be supporting. read more »

All posts Big Society

Big Lottery funds UK-wide Your Square Mile digital platform on SocialGo

As part of the announcement of a People Powered Change event this month, the Big Lottery Fund has confirmed that it will be funding the Your Square Mile initiative – currently part of Big Society Network – to build a UK-wide digital platform. It is part of a larger funding package that BIG will splash at the event in Salford on March 25.

The partners page says: “There are 93,000 square miles in the UK. Most of the 62 million UK citizens live in 7,500 to 8,000 of those square miles. These square miles contain identifiable communities – villages or small urban areas – comprising several thousand people each. “Your Square Mile” is about encouraging citizens to identify, claim and then lead change in those neighbourhoods. This is currently being piloted in 16 diverse, challenged communities in the UK.

“The Big Lottery Fund is enabling Your Square Mile to build a digital platform – on PC’s, mobiles and public access screens – that will enable the interchange of ideas, advice, support and benefits to citizens throughout the UK”. read more »

All posts Big Society Our Society

Networking Big Society programmes for all our communities

Big Society-related plans to support community action, announced recently, provide a challenge for those involved to share learning across their programmes and more widely.

I think this also offers a big opportunity for people working at local and national level as community reporters, social reporters – or in any other role with a commitment to make the most of social media for networking and collaboration.

I’ve done a roundup of the main programmes over on the Our Society forum, where I’ve been writing a lot recently, with others, about how we can make the most of current interest in community action while avoiding the politics of the Big Society brand. My blog posts are here, with more at oursociety.amplify.com. read more »

All posts Big Society

Clearing the ground to claim Big Society for ourselves

It’s been a bad couple of weeks for Big Society if you are sitting in Whitehall … but rather a good time if you believe that there are some useful principles and opportunities in the large bag originally promoted as central to the Conservative manifesto. They are just in the wrong ownership.

We need to unpack the bag, re-assemble the pieces, claim them for ourselves, and stick on some different labels. After all, Big Society is meant to be about shifting power from central to local, and enabling citizens to take control. These days social media means we don’t have to accept brands created in our name, or organising methods from another age.

The bad/good fortnight started with a front-page splash in the Times, prompting “end of the beginning” analysis and ended up with Liverpool council pulling out of the vanguard area programme. In between we had lots of “Big Society in crisis” blogging, including a “you couldn’t make it up” piece from the Wall Street Journal. In Liverpool Phil Redmond said he stuck by the principles, but “the marketing slogan is not the best” … and the BBC’s Nick Robinson said Big Society should be high on the agenda for the PM’s new messenger Craig Oliver.

The comments from Phil and Nick show what’s wrong with Big Society communications … as well, of course, as the problem of people thinking it is all about volunteering (that’s just part of it) and cuts undermining local support systems (they need changing, but not this fast, at this cost). read more »

All posts Big Society

An amazing day with Chain Reaction: no moans, many assets, a community march. That's big society – or Our Society

I spent yesterday on the 30th floor of a Canary Wharf tower, with 100 people at Chain Reaction 2011, a hugely creative discussion about the future of East London that we could see below. Our bodies were in the sky, but our heads and hearts were on the ground.

I spent this morning less productively tweeting about the story that Lord (Nat) Wei is cutting back his volunteer time on Big Society, and the follow-ups about How to save the big society and what this tells us about the labour market.

Nat responded that “#bigsociety is about much more than volunteering – it’s about helping people to take control over their lives, however much time they have” … but, without the stories I heard yesterday, that and other tweets seemed mostly abstractions.  Heads in the clouds. read more »

All posts Big Society

An amazing day with Chain Reaction: no moans, many assets, a community march. That’s big society – or Our Society

I spent yesterday on the 30th floor of a Canary Wharf tower, with 100 people at Chain Reaction 2011, a hugely creative discussion about the future of East London that we could see below. Our bodies were in the sky, but our heads and hearts were on the ground.

I spent this morning less productively tweeting about the story that Lord (Nat) Wei is cutting back his volunteer time on Big Society, and the follow-ups about How to save the big society and what this tells us about the labour market.

Nat responded that “#bigsociety is about much more than volunteering – it’s about helping people to take control over their lives, however much time they have” … but, without the stories I heard yesterday, that and other tweets seemed mostly abstractions.  Heads in the clouds. read more »

All posts Big Society

Want to influence? Understand networks.

I was fascinated last year by the analysis of how climate sceptics networked more effectively than environmentalists to create Climategate, which was followed by practical advice on the role of social insurgents in the equivalent of online guerilla warfare.

The story of that research commissioned by Oxfam was broken by the blog Left Foot Forward, and they have now invited Stephen Fitzpatrick, from the socialbusinessgroup.com to report directly here on their latest piece of work on connections between informal networks of financial websites. Some of these are close to the source of the last financial crisis, and Stephen suggests that following them might help politicians see the next crisis coming.

The report Social Media: the New Influentials, from Mindful Money, shows how an increasing number of web and blog sites connect to each other, how they influence the debate and influence investors, providing, in the process, an alternative viewpoint to the established media. They list the top twenty. read more »