Grapevine CEO joins panel of ‘Collaborative Local Citizenship’ experts

Today our CEO Clare Wightman is one of the speakers at ‘Resilient Communities’ in Windsor – a two-day, cross sector conference held in the 2,000 hectares that constitute Windsor Great Park.

Her participation in the progressive event, jointly hosted by Cumberland Lodge and The Young Foundation, brings ‘Collaborative Local Citizenship’ to the national table from our own Grapevine perspective here in Coventry and Warwickshire.

Clare Wightman CEO
Clare Wightman

Here’s an abridged version of what she’ll present to the audience.

Are you interested in exploring our unique approach to embracing strengths, building community and changing systems? Get in touch with Clare at and follow the #CLYFresilient conversation on Twitter as it happens!

A short podcast featuring the panellists is available here.

“We are proud localists from Coventry and Warwickshire trying to take a different approach. We’ve always aimed to connect people to others in ways that build resilience and opportunity.

“What people really need is love, intimacy, purpose, friendship, hope. People can meet these needs in each other through two-way flows of support. Two-way flows of support can solve their deepest problems for good.

“So we took action and began a journey into exploring new methods. And we expanded our reach to offer support to all kinds of people facing tough times, whatever labels or diagnosis they were given.

Photos by Alan Van Wijgerden.

Jo talks at Collaboration Station
Jo leading the way at Collaboration Station

“On that journey we upset traditional service models of ‘needs based provision’ and established a new model of ‘needs as assets’. We learnt how to unlock the resources in communities and helped them grow protective networks for their members. We saw people begin to look after each other and raise each other up.

“We’ve not given up on services of course, that would be foolish. We have a responsibility to them. We want them to be as effective as possible. And they are just as full of untapped potential as people and communities.

“Mostly recently Grapevine has sparked a new thing in Coventry called Collaboration Stations that tries to do both. It’s the Minecraft school of power and leadership. It’s an open space where people decide what they want to create and they build together collaboratively from the ground up.

Trans and non binary swimming discussion
A group discuss inclusive swimming sessions with a focus on people who are trans and non binary

“The point of doing it all together in a Station is to show this eco system for collaboration and change to itself. If it’s visible it’s more likely to interconnect and strengthen.

“Our aim by the end of next year is to have mobilised 3,000 people in Coventry – one per cent of the population – so we are attempting to create, stage by stage, a system the size of a village. A mass of people who are able to see the challenges and concerns they all have as part of a system too – on they can analyse and act on.

“Change requires a shift in power. Power is relational – your ability to act on your challenges increases when you act with others.

Collaboration Station's core team
Collaboration Station’s core team will hopefully operate independently in the future

“We think this new approach is more likely to produce the kind of cross sector old and new power collaboration that’s needed.

“There are 15 ideas and initiatives in all so far.

“It is on the brink of being applied to our city council challenges and aspirations for something they are calling One Coventry.

“As the door to shifting power opens, new types of partnership become possible. Partnerships that rip up the rule book and bring public services and communities closer together.”

Collaboration Station gathers on the third Wednesday of each month from 5.30-7.30pm in Coventry. Find details of the next event on our Facebook page and also check out

A lego movement is forming
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Alan and Mandip document the journey through photography
Alan and Mandip document the journey through photography