16 November, 2023

Centre Conference 2023: A summary of the action based workshops

At this year’s Centre for Excellence in Community Investment 2023 we held action based workshops around 6 topics to get stuck in and think how innovative collaboration can birth new impactful solutions!

The 6 topics

The action based workshops covered the following:

How can we work together to reduce food insecurity in the places we operate?

It was interesting that all three groups mostly created quite a similar project to each other, suggesting that there could be an appetite for such a project to be duplicated and replicated, should an appropriate location and funding model be found.

The suggested project was a community food hub led by residents with lived experience of food insecurity, which would provide a range of food related services such as; cheap meals, cooking classes, allotments, food pantry / community fridge, collective buying and meal distribution. Wrap-around services would also be provided with the aim of improving health and wellbeing, community connections, and skills and employment prospects. Additional add-ons could include a social enterprise / money making aspect. One group also chose to focus their version of the project to explicitly focus on in-work poverty.

 

If you are based in London and would like to get involved in The Centre’s London Food Insecurity Network, please get in touch with our Network Lead, Adam Chester.

 

How can our sector be a more effective partner for Black and Minority Ethnic led community organisations through community investment?

An empowerment and capacity building programme for POC community leaders, which would also build relationships between HAs and community groups. The participating housing associations will nominate 2 or 3 partner organisations who may want to participate in the programme – the leader will have access to various housing associations departments such as HR, Community Investment, Fundraising, and Asset Management teams who can support with their personal development as a leader (working with HR), as well as their organisation’s sustainability, location, and connections with the wider community.

You can find out more about the Centre’s Racial Equality Group here, if you are interested in joining the group, please get in touch with our Network Lead, Adam Chester.

How can we work in partnership to catalyse community led social action projects, with a focus on intergenerational activities?

The group were enthusiastic about the theme and the prospect of intergenerational work, and seemed to benefit from hearing about examples of what had and hadn’t worked well in this area for other housing associations. When it came to the prospect of collaborative working, it seemed challenging for some people to think about how the housing associations could work together to support the proposed projects, suggesting that they could benefit from more examples of how cross housing associations collaboration could work, and has worked.

3 project ideas came out of the group work:

You can find out more about the Age Friendly Social Housing Programme here, if you are interested in joining the Age Friendly Network, please get in touch with our Network Lead, Adam Chester.

How can we collaborate to deliver community centres and hubs that benefit more local people?

The four groups came up with four different project ideas, but there is one key theme at the core of each one that connects them all: focusing on the needs of the community.

You can find out more about the Community Centres Network here, if you are interested in joining the Age Friendly Network, please get in touch with our Network Lead, Adam Chester.

How can community investment tackle health inequalities and deliver health creation in place?

The group had taken away the message from the morning session on Health and Housing and how collaboration between the two sectors can reduce the workload of the NHS. The groups were conscious of the impact on local health systems that their project would have.

You can find out more about our Housing and Health work here, if you are interested in finding out more, please get in touch with our Health and Research Lead, Sarah Parsons.

How do we work together to increase digital confidence at a place-based level?

Digital confidence and inclusion is an issue that social housing organisations are continuing to work on and discover innovative ways of reducing social exclusion. The groups came up with some ideas on projects that could help tackle this issue and benefit residents:

You can find out more about the Digital Inclusion Network here, if you are interested in joining the Age Friendly Network, please get in touch with Head of Communities and Projects, Rebecca Rieley