To mentor…

If you want to find yourself a great mentor, then in my experience best avoid those mentor matching services…

Some Barriers to Engagement

What are the things that make ‘engaging’ harder than it need be?  Here is my personal starter for 10…

  • Cost
  • Location/Access
  • Methods and practices that are culturally biassed
  • Corporatism (I have become increasingly disengaged with the Olympics as it more becomes just a platform for Coca Cola, McDonalds and co.)
  • Obfuscation ( the hiding of intended meaning)
  • Procedural issues – closed meetings, delayed agendas, delayed minutes
  • Fear – will I look a fool?
  • Fear – will I make enemies?
  • It will be a waste of time – engage or not – it makes no odds
  • Emphasis on events over process (we consult or hold a focus group rather than engage in a dialogue over time)
  • Language – use of jargon
  • Language that is highly gendered or stereotyped
  • Culture – lack of capacity to bring people in, to help them learn

Any more…?

Interested in how we can dismantle some of these barriers?

Dismantling Barriers to Engagement

Engagement, co-creation, co-production consultation, and membership development all are high on the list of priorities for many.  Yet it can feel like an uphill battle to get beyond the usual suspects to establish a genuine engagement with the community.

Are we beset by a tide of apathy?

Or a complex web of cultural barriers that amount to intentional exclusion?

Either way – what can we do personally and collectively to overcome these barriers to engagement and participation?

To reduce them, undermine them, clamber over them?

Is it possible to be disengaged – or are we just engaged in other things, with other folk?  Do we label people apathetic as a way of avoiding a real inspection of our own work?

Apathy historically means ‘free from pain’.  To what extent are choices not to engage sensible means of avoiding pain, disappointment and failure?

How often is the ‘engagement’ that we are offered really in our own interest?  Or is it often more serving policy makers and service providers.

Whether you are on ‘the outside looking in’, or on the inside, wondering why we don’t engage… let’s start looking for clues…

I would welcome your comments, insights and experiences of engagement, good, bad and ugly…

Please follow the link below to a pdf of the mindmap produced at the Dismantling Barriers event…

Dismantling Barriers To Engagement


Getting to Grips with Social Finance – FREE TRAINING

Urban Forum has FREE places available on the following half-day seminar on Getting to Grips with Social Finance.

21st June 2012 in Wakefield

Social Investment? Community Finance? Charity Bonds? Crowdfunding? What does it all mean and what does it have to do with us?
In these times of austerity, public service transformation and changes to voluntary and community sector funding, there is a greater emphasis on new forms of financing social action through social investment. In a nutshell it’s about using money to achieve both social outcomes or ‘returns’, as well as financial ones.

These seminars, organised with local and national partners, will:

  • Provide an overview of social investment and community finance
  • Share some practical examples of how new funding models can be used
  • Discuss practical implications for community organisations
  • Enable participants to explore how to assess whether social finance can work for them
  • Signpost to available sources of support


The Getting to Grips with Social Finance workshop programme is being supported by the Santander Foundation.

Urban Forum

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Tel 020 7253 4816