Conversations and Connections

Hosting conversations to spark debate and inspire collective action are a big part of the work we do here at Collaborate. The past couple of months have been particularly busy for us – read on for a few highlights, including recent and upcoming conversations, new projects and new team members.

Recent Collaborate events

Collaborating for Social Change: How Greater Manchester is working together

We were delighted to host an event with leaders from across Greater Manchester – labelled the “pioneers of English devolution” by the LGA, exploring what they’ve learned about collaboration on their journey so far.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, and a panel of leaders from local government, health and the voluntary sector in Greater Manchester shared how their whole-place, whole-system approach works in practice – and has contributed to significant outcomes, including faster than expected increases in life expectancy.Read the write up, or watch the recording.

Leading with learning

Can councils radically shift their relationships with residents without changing how they operate internally? Redbridge Council has built an approach to collaboration with communities by enabling their Community Hubs team to become learning-led and self-managing.

Read the write up, or watch the recording.

New event series

The six foundations of effective collaboration

Following the launch of our Guide to Collaboration, we’re hosting the Collaborating for Social Change conversations – a series of deep dive learning sessions to explore the six foundations of effective collaboration. 

On June 28th, we hosted our first follow-on conversation which focused on ‘Building healthy, trusting relationships’.

In this session we were joined by Immy Robinson from the Relationships Project who shared what they’ve been learning about relationship centred practice. Our friends at East Sussex County Council followed this with practical insight into how they’re investing in the quality of the relationships across their system. 

Read the write up, or watch the recording.

Join us for more Collaborating for Social Change conversations:

  • Collaborative Behaviours: 13th Sept, 12 – 1pm on Zoom
  • Shared purpose & Collaborative mindset: 11th Oct, 12 – 1pm on Zoom
  • Collaborative Infrastructure: 8th Nov, 12 – 1pm on Zoom
  • Shared Learning: 6th Dec, 12 – 1pm on Zoom

We will be in touch with further details soon.

New Projects

Wigan: A ‘New Era’

We’re delighted to be supporting Wigan Council as a collaborative partner to refresh their strategic approach for a ‘New Era’.

Over the last ten years, Wigan Council has been reimagining its relationship with residents through ‘The Deal’, a different way of doing public services and working in partnership to create a better place to work and live.

Working in partnership with IPPR North, we’re now helping the Council to understand how the strengths of ‘The Deal’ can be built upon, what gaps need to be addressed, and what is needed to respond to the challenges that the borough faces now and into the future. Our aim is to generate not just a set of recommendations, but to help reinvigorate a movement for change with the energy, relationships and capabilities to enable bold and ambitious change for the borough.

To do this work well, we are working with the people of Wigan to explore what the future should look like and how the Council and local partners can support this. As part of our community engagement, we have assembled a Community Connection Group with leaders from the voluntary and community sector. They are working alongside us to reach as broad a range of people as possible — as active participants in gathering people’s views, making sense of them and developing recommendations alongside us. 

In addition, we’re engaging with staff, Councillors, local partners, reformers and radicals beyond Wigan. Everything we hear will feed into a collective sense-making process in the autumn, when we’ll collaboratively chart a path forward. 

We’ll share more as the new era for Wigan emerges.

Creating impact

Taking a systems approach to tackling loneliness in East Sussex

We’re really proud to see that our work to support East Sussex County Council and partners to develop a systems approach to addressing loneliness has been incorporated into the Annual Report of the Director of Public Health in East Sussex.

The Connected People and Places project, led by public health during 2021/22, focused on gaining a better understanding of the nature and impact of loneliness on East Sussex residents, and identifying future opportunities and approaches to mitigate its worst effects.

The report highlights the importance of social connections and the impact loneliness can have on people’s health and wellbeing, as highlighted by the stories we gathered through our engagement with community groups and local residents. 

It also shares the findings and recommendations we produced. Among them was a call to action on preventing and tackling loneliness through a stewardship approach. We are really pleased to see such clear progress towards a county-wide collaboration between the institutions, organisations and communities responsible for creating and nurturing a healthy system – one capable of producing the desired outcome of better connected people and places.

You can read the case study here.

Team news

Welcome to our new starters

We’re excited to be joined by four new team members, each bringing their own diverse experiences and in turn growing our perspectives and the insights we can offer. Welcome Tara, Molly, Sally and Malavika! 

Tara joins the team as our Business Development and Operations Manager, bringing her experience in membership development for the largest responsible business charity in the UK. Alongside her experience working in the education sector, across a variety of roles, including recruitment, account management and marketing.

Molly and Sally join the practice team as Project and Relationship Coordinators.

Molly brings experience co-producing with young people at Tate Liverpool to champion diversity and inclusion within galleries and museums, and is attending a part-time masters in Ecology, Culture and Society at Goldsmiths University. Molly seeks to bring an interdisciplinary understanding of collaboration from social theory, ethnography, ecological philosophy, environmental and animal studies and practical experience.

Sally specialises in Social and Cultural Anthropology, with an emphasis on diaspora studies, narrative ethnography and decolonial approaches. She brings experience in reflexive research methodologies as well as reciprocal and inclusive interview practices. Her experience volunteering with migrant and refugee organisations supplements her belief that centring those occupying interlocking systems of oppression, is the path to liberation for all.

Malavika joins as a Research and Evaluation Consultant, having specialised in Development Studies and Psychology. She brings experience from international and community organisations across India and the UK, using her expertise in qualitative methodologies like thematic analysis and participatory research to inform strategy and interventions. She’s committed to a unique approach to community development that challenges inequitable structures while fostering a sense of self-organisation within communities.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the summer break and are feeling as re-energised as we are! Get in touch if you’d like to know more about any of the above, or if there’s something we can support you with.

Anna and the Collaborate team