Our shared PACT
Connection: Building deeper, closer connections
“I hope we are brave enough to change, live and connect differently” Bradford youth workshop
“It’s about building up relationships. All of it is about building up relationships.” Epsom & Ewell community workshop
Connections are vital. To bring together people with shared experiences – and those with different experiences. To make sure those with power listen to those who feel they have little. To identify the change that’s needed and how we work together for that change. To build deep human connections between those with power and those who feel they lack it, and between people who feel powerless to ensure that their voice is heard. To recognise and value the power we do have whether as members of communities, or as leaders of organisations.
Building deep connections is civil society’s historic role, and it has never been more needed. Our society is divided between urban and rural, between north and south, between young and old. It is still deeply divided on racial and class lines. Civil society has an essential role to connect powerfully across these damaging divides and drive lasting social change. But too often we have lost our ability to build connections, because the world is changing fast or we have become too remote from the people and communities we are here for.
The implications are enormous when connections are not made. Society can only understand what is really going on by listening very hard to the voices of people who know. Communities were concerned about abuse of young girls in some northern towns, the citizens of the Windrush generation were being advised by civil society organisations, but civall were ignored. People in Whitehall and many institutions in London were surprised when so many places voted for Brexit, but people working and living in those communities already knew.
We will extend and renew our ability to connect people.
We will all build real and meaningful relationships between people, meeting as equals within and across communities – especially where it’s hard to do.
We will bridge divides across race, gender, generations, social class and more – learning from the past, experimenting with new approaches and listening deeply to different people.
Our infrastructure for connecting groups and organisations is outdated, under-resourced and falling apart and there are too few connective networks to join up civil society locally or nationally.
Together we will create and invest in better ways to connect and collaborate that are fit for the 21st century, combining welcoming and energising physical spaces, with online forums which encourage us to share and to discover – a national people-power grid energising and universalising social action across communities and across our country.
The future could include…
Success measured on the depth and quality of our connections, not the number of ‘impacts’…
Investment in hyper local community-owned media like Bristol Cable…
People and organisations with radically different perspectives make a point of working together, using their different perspectives productively to create change….
Peer support available for people pioneering challenging new approaches…
Stories of deeper, closer connections: