The latest from Connecting for Good – community, connection and capacity for change in Coventry

Our Connecting for Good community organisers are a busy lot!

When they’re not helping Coventry people form and lead their own solutions to isolation and marginalisation, they’re sharing what works with the world through Medium or taking a quick trip to Poland to compare notes with European counterparts.

A large group holds flags and placards beneath a rainbow roof and walls in Coventry city centre. They are all smiling at the camera.
Reconnection Tour Coventry, hosted by Connecting for Good in July 2022. Credit: Dom Fleming Photography

But it is also good to pause and review how we’re doing here in Coventry and exactly how far the Connecting for Good movement has come over the past three years.

Its goal is twofold… shift power back to communities through collective action. And spark community action through connection, creativity and community-led change.

“My involvement made me feel encouraged, connected and empowered to be an initiator in our city.” (Connecting for Good member)

We’re building an ecosystem of initiatives that complement and bolster one another – fortifying the agency, capacity and leadership of the people within.

An interconnected web of community support becoming more tightly woven and intricate over time so less and less people can fall between the gaps.

We think the best way to show how community organising is changing our city – so citizens feel able to hold people to account and can advocate for their needs and aspirations – is a quick rundown of these community-led initiatives.

“Before I was a stranger to the city, trying to find connection but not succeeding. Now I am connected to many people all over the city on a meaningful level. I can point out stories/connections/actions on every other corner.

“This has improved my sense of belonging and my mental health as I feel happier.” (Connecting for Good member)

Eight logos on a page show some of the Connecting for Good sparked initiatives in Coventry.
A small selection of community-led initiatives happening right now across Coventry.

Here are some brief summaries (please click on the links for more depth on each).

The ‘Cov Cares’ movement: Grown from the seed of our post-pandemic business summit to build belonging back on our high streets, the first ever Cov Cares Awards took place in June 2023 with 756 public nominations received for businesses going above and beyond to nurture communities. Now we are helping a core team create a long-term city-wide network that supports businesses to continue building belonging and connection among local people.

Destination Ball Hill: Residents and businesses in Ball Hill want a ‘liveable neighbourhood’ where they feel proud and safe to be. With our support, community action groups are currently working across five local issues (including air pollution and a local business network) with a core strategy team looking at the overall mission to collectively make Ball Hill a destination once more.

Creative Kindness began as one person’s dream of crafting for wellbeing and has since turned into a city-wide movement of people using creativity to combat isolation. 15 different groups now run in spaces across the city (including one for staff at a secondary school and another for university students), welcoming anyone to join and craft together. Their solid infrastructure helps develop members who want to progress to becoming leaders, with a clear vision for the future – a session in every city library.

Need The Loo are campaigning for more and better public toilets in the city centre for people with a disability, a long-term health condition, small children… everyone. They know council budgets are tightening but don’t believe this should prevent people from being provided with a better experience of Coventry that meets the needs of accessibility, social inclusion, equality and decency.

Survivor Sanctuary is a grassroots organisation led by survivors, for survivors. Providing peer-to-peer support for victim-survivors, the core team cultivates a vitally important safe space for connection, belonging and friendship no matter where people are on their journey. They are also ensuring survivors of sexual violence are at the table when policy decisions are made. Reforming their experience of the reporting process and the accessibility of specialist support both run alongside this.

“My proudest moment was when we sat down with the city council and there was a noticeable shift in power towards us.” (Connecting for Good member)

Other initiatives changing systems and shifting power into people’s hands. Click here for more details:

  • Forward Fathers
  • Coventry Urban Eden
  • Roots In Nature community woodland
  • Survivor Sanctuary Plus (trans campaign).
A young black man takes a selfie with a table full of men and women from different backgrounds, enjoying dinner together at a long table with a white tablecloth. They are Coventry Urban Eden.
The Coventry Urban Eden team. Credit: Cov Urban Eden on Facebook.

Other community sparked initiatives tackling isolation and marginalisation:

Feeling inspired?

Explore our dedicated Connecting for Good Cov website to learn more about our last five years working alongside Coventry people, communities and systems.

Dive deeper into Grapevine’s community organising practice on Medium.

Sign up to receive our regular Connecting for Good Cov newsletter.

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