Collaborating – not for the emergency but for the future

“One of my biggest fears, as local authorities try to recover from this crisis, is that focus returns to stemming need and that this could squeeze out the ability to think and act in ways that get us ahead of problems. We must not let that happen,” writes Grapevine CEO Clare Wightman in a new NPC blog.

Clare was invited to write for NPC – a think tank and consultancy for the charity sector – following a recent Pledge on Place appearance. Her blog continues the conversation with ‘Place based approaches, collaboration and working on future issues in response to COVID-19’.

Community volunteers in Stoke Aldermoor during the pandemic
Are we ready to respond to the challenges ahead?

Place based approaches, such as our work in Stoke Aldermoor in Coventry (one of 20 partnerships in England), consider how the whole community works and what it needs. Connecting people and collaborating with different sectors to make a lasting impact through a shared sense of place.

Clare’s blog describes Grapevine’s “unspoken feeling” in the early days of the pandemic that “the organisations who mattered most were the ones who showed up in the effort to provide food, medicines and advice.”

“…as the crisis unfolded, we felt pressure to be busy and practical in the emergency space. It was uncomfortable.”

Clare Wightman, Grapevine CEO

But Grapevine looked inward – to over 300 people connected within 15 of their own self-led initatives and personal support networks. To the root causes of problems. To mobilising strengths and the slow-burn of relationship-based work. This infrastructure had to remain solid during the crisis.

We were grateful to those who stepped up to the emergency need in Coventry and Warwickshire. But the choice we made was to get ahead on future issues – proactively building social and economic capital to take action on tomorrow’s problems.

To find out more about the ‘settling phase’ for movements and how we made a plan to build on their newfound potential, turning community spirit into community power, taking action on big issues and bridging divides, read the rest of Clare’s blog here.

Updates on new collaborations that will help us respond to the potential to work on a better future are coming soon!

New Vibes Visuals group shot by Simon Green
New Vibes Visuals have steadily built on their enthusiasm for community action from the start of the crisis. Image by Simon Peter Green