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 CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE AND BOOK YOUR FREE PLACE The Getting to Grips with Social Finance workshop programme is being supported by the Santander … [Read more...]

What People Say About Progress School…

Because I choose to let it, Progress School forces me to focus on what I need to do to develop my future plans. Attending the sessions makes me focus at least once a month [if I'm lucky enough to escape work to attend] and that focus is nudging me into taking actions that I might ordinarily push to one side 'until later'. The only negative side manifests itself in my frustration when my paid job is too demanding to allow that precious time for me to attend. Precious is what Progress School is to me at the present time. Now I need to find ways to ensure my escape in good time every 2nd Thurs of the month.   “I’ve always known personal development was important, but rarely actually made any time for it. Progress School changes that. It means that at least once a month I’m forced to think about my own development, and better still it gives me the tools, support and motivation for doing so.” “Joining a group which is focused on self development has focused me on what I need to do. Knowing that I will be “reporting in” once a month has helped me to find the time to put in the effort to do something in readiness for the next session.”   Thank you very much for inviting me to Hull Progress School which I … [Read more...]

Some forgotten truths about enterprise…

Poverty is not about scarcity – it is not that there is not enough – but that it is not shared The challenge is to give more people the power that they need to play a positive and powerful role in markets; This means accessible and relevant processes to develop individual capabilities and power Markets will always have a place in our society but not everything can be bought and sold.  Care for example is an emotional relationship that cannot be bought and sold. Development is a measure of the extent to which individuals have the capabilities to live the life that they choose.  It has little to do with standard economic measures such as GDP. Helping people to recognise choices and increase the breadth of choices available to them should be a key objective of development. Developing the capability and power of individuals provides a key to both development and freedom Development must be relevant to lives, contexts, and aspirations Development is about more than the alleviation of problems – stamping out anti social behaviour, teenage pregnancies, poor housing and so on. It is about helping people to become effective architects in shaping their own lives We need practices that value individual identity; … [Read more...]

Are we learning? Or just looking good?

Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck made a great distinction between performance goals and learning goals. Performance goals are about “winning positive judgements of your competence and avoiding negative ones. In other words, when students pursue performance goals they’re concerned with their level of intelligence: They want to look smart (to themselves or others) and avoid looking dumb.” A person usually does this by playing it safe. Learning goals are ones that are about increasing your competence. “It reflects a desire to learn new skills, master new tasks, or understand new things—a desire to get smarter.” Both goals are common and can drive achievement. So there’s nothing wrong with either. “In fact,” she says, “in the best of all possible worlds, students could achieve both goals at the same time.” Unfortunately, we don’t live in the best of all possible worlds. One is usually pitted against the other. “The tasks that are best for learning are often challenging ones that involve displaying ignorance and risking periods of confusion and errors. The tasks that are best for looking smart are often ones that students are already good at and won’t really learn as much from doing.” What she has … [Read more...]

Leeds Progress School

We have a few spaces left at Leeds Progress School tomorrow, Feb 9th, from 4-6pm at the QU2 Centre in Queens Square, Leeds, near the Merrion Centre. It would be lovely if you could join us.  We also have another Progress School in March which you can also book now. Progress... Movement, as toward a goal; advance Development or growth Steady improvement, as of a society or civilization To advance; proceed To advance toward a higher or better stage; improve steadily To increase in scope or severity … [Read more...]

The Company of Strangers Find yourself 40 minutes - it will be worth it I reckon..... … [Read more...]

There is Another Game in Town….and she is called Elsie

You might be forgiven for thinking that traditional 'economic development' is the only game in town.  Shopping centres, arenas and enterprise zones, vocational education and training producing a workforce to meet the needs of employers. This kind of stuff has been the mainstream of economic development for as long as I can remember. But there is another game that WE can play.. One which relies less on 'attracting' talent and wealth from outside and more on developing the passion, aspiration and skills of the people that already make up our communities.  It works with what we have got, starting from where we are. It relies on the ability of local people to support each other, with knowledge, skills, networks and wherever possible custom.   Instead of looking to buy 'star players' to join the team we instead set up an academy, a place and a process in which we can explore our potential and find the people and other resources that we need to move our projects forward. This is where Elsie comes in. Leeds Community Enterprise Accelerator (Elsie) is a project designed to build the capacity of ordinary people in the Leeds community to shape their own future according to their own hopes and aspirations.  It … [Read more...]

Leeds Social Media Surgery – 20th July

The next Leeds Social Media Surgery is on Wednesday 20th July 6-8pm, at The Round Foundry Media Centre, Foundry Street, LS11 5QP Leeds Social Media Surgery is a free advice session for community and voluntary groups, clubs, societies and small arts organisations. Come along to find out how you can use free web sites and services to organise activities, promote events, raise funds, collect feedback from your participants and more. There are some great testimonials from people who have come along before on the link below. So if you're not sure what we can offer please have a look/listen. For more information and to book your place visit … [Read more...]

Elsie is Born…

I seem to have been a bit quiet on this blog, while I have been doing other things, including pushing Progress School along, working on Collaborate Leeds and incubating a new idea which has finally found the light of day today: The Leeds Community Enterprise Accelerator or Elsie for short.  This provides a community based network of support to local enterprise coaches, advisors, facilitators, in fact to anyone who is helping someone else in the community to make progress. I have high hopes for Elsie in post Business Link austerity economy.  I think it will provide a sustainable high value model to provide practical crowd sourced enterprise support to those that most want and need it. Have a look at Elsie and tell me what you think. … [Read more...]

Developing Enterprising Artists Using Open Space

Yesterday I was invited to help Axis and the ever wonderful Culture Vulture to run a 'Cultural Conversation' to help a group of around 60 artists, project managers, collectors and gallery managers to explore the role of social media in supporting their work.  The group included some social media users and 'experts' (I use that word cautiously) and one or two technical types.  Peopl trsavelled from all over the north of England to take part and the venue at Project Space Leeds was rammed! Instead of using the default setting of finding some experts to explain it all to the numpties we went with an open space meeting.  In this format groups of people meet to explore as peers the issues and topics they wish to explore.  They set the agenda, in real time on the day, and learn by exchanging experiences, insights and challenges.  They talk to each other, like human beings, in conversations. In under four hours the group of 60 were each able to attend 4 conversations chosen from a schedule of 18 or so.  The topics included: 'What is Twitter and How Do I Use It' Social Media Dialogue as Artwork' I am Completely Overwhelmed! Where Do I Start? Using Social Media for Critique and many more. Despite the fact that there are … [Read more...]


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