2020 started with me reflecting on the sorry state that our leadership (whatever that is) had got us in. Back in January 40% of NHS nurses had taken time of work because of stress in the previous 12 months, with similar figures for other clinical and non clinical staff. The NHS was in crisis.
And then covid seemed to erase history as well as make it, as newer and ‘bigger’ crises meant that historic problems got largely forgotten about as resources were concentrated on tackling this ‘new enemy’. Our leadership seems to always want an enemy for us to fight.
Some 10 years ago I was running three projects in Leeds.
The first, Progress School, provides free group based coaching to anyone that needs it. It provides time and space to think about who, and what, you are becoming and to find ways to manage your personal development.
Progress School will be back in 2021. You can help by coming to it yourself, or by suggesting it to anyone you meet that might benefit from a bit of free coaching.
The second was the Leeds Community Enterprise (Elsie for short). This is an enterprise accelerator. A source of wisdom, advice and practical support that can be used by anyone in Leeds who is undertaking any kind of enterprise. It may be a business, a campaign, community group or any other project. It is for anyone who is looking to make progress, but needs a bit of a hand from the Leeds community.
Elsie provides a service that is confidential, competent and caring.
With the boundaries between business, community and social impact becoming more blurred we need to put together new, low cost and sustainable ways of helping people in our community who are trying to make things happen. This is my best stab at what that could be like. Elsie is a group of trained volunteers drawn from all walks of Leeds life who meet for 2 hours every month to brainstorm advice, guidance and support for anyone in Leeds who is looking to advance a project. Elsie not only offers practical and technical advice, but will also act as point of contact into other Leeds support networks.
Elsie meetings are designed to be fun, fast moving, practically focussed and above all helpful – and not just for the people who are seeking support.
Elsie ran successfully in Leeds for a couple of years about 10 years ago. I plan to bring it back in 2021. You might want to help by joining Elsie as panel member, or by bringing a project to it. In order to become a panel member you will need to attend a short training session.
The third project that I want to bring back is Disrupting Poverty. This was a community of people who were disturbed by the extent of poverty in our city and wanted to do something about it. The way the city shaped itself into the ‘haves’, the ‘have lots’ and the ‘have nots’.
Disrupting Poverty used large group meetings called “Innovation Labs” or “Results Factories” to bring people together to explore ideas and organise to make the best of them happen. Back then we calculated that the number of children in Leeds who officially lived in ‘poverty’ would more than fill Elland Rd. In the decade since them things seem to have got worse. I stopped Disrupting Poverty when the council set up the Poverty Truth Commission. I wish I hadn’t. I intend to start it up again in 2021.
How Can You Help?
Get in touch to have a natter is probably the best way. You can book a bit of time in with me here
Or sign up for the Elsie Training here…
Progress School dates for 2021 will be published soon.