Street Association launches plans for community growth
Throughout Britain, many streets nowadays have little or no real community spirit. People live separate lives. The result can be a high level of isolation and loneliness, with few real opportunities to contribute. A lack of social support can also trigger other ailments, including depression, anxiety and a lack of simple, practical help (such as a lift to hospital) that could so easily be provided by neighbours.
Birmingham based organisation Uturn UK, a Community Interest Company (CIC), is pioneering the Street Associations initiative to restore both communities and the values on which communities depend. Knowing that the initiative has huge potential, the founders wanted to make sure that they had the right model for expansion and were ready to take on more associations. Following a referral from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, they contacted The Cranfield Trust for help in developing a plan for expansion, focusing their efforts to reap maximum benefit.
Working with volunteer consultant Simon Tidd, Uturn UK formed a plan covering how best to ‘go for growth’, incorporating marketing and media requirements to support their ambitions, as well as options for income generation to further their charitable activities.
Uturn UK Director, Martin Graham was delighted with the results, explaining:
“Simon has been of great value to us and helped us to grasp nettles and crystallise conclusions to which we might have taken a lot of unnecessary time coming under our own steam – precisely, I would think, what such consultancy is for. So we would like to express our sincere thanks to the Cranfield Trust, and also to the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation who initiated our contact with you, and of course to Simon. We all found Simon helpful, understanding, very easy to relate to - and having a very quick grasp of our situation. I cannot speak highly enough of his capacity to add value to any charity or CIC to which you might direct him!"
A Warwick Business School alumnus, Simon felt that the project was beneficial for him too, commenting:
“Working with Street Associations has been great experience for me: Martin, Gina and colleagues are inspirational in their dedication to trying to make a positive difference. Most importantly, the project has allowed me to use consultancy skills usually practised in commercial, private sector settings, for an organisation whose primary motivation is to do good in the world. For me it is an opportunity to try and make that positive difference, doing things that I feel are valuable and that I have some skill and experience in. I've volunteered for charities before; projects with the Cranfield Trust allow me to do that whilst also developing myself professionally.”
Having reached their 50th Association in January 2014, Uturn UK CIC can now look forward to increasing the sense of community throughout Birmingham, Walsall, into the wider West Midlands and beyond!