Community Engagement Good for Business

lepconfThe New Anglia Local Economic Partnership conference at the Green Britain Centre in Swaffham yesterday heard that community engagement is good for business.

The growth conference was hearing from the East Anglian Daily Times Young Business Woman of the Year 2012 Dayle Bayliss who set up a construction consultancy in 2011. Dayle was inspired by her experience of working in a school in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk where she had the all too rare opportunity to spend a week engaging with the pupils, discovering their perspective and demystifying the building design and construction work she was managing in the school.

Her experience was reminiscent of an engagement project for Bury St Edmunds library led by Cultural Intelligence in 2010 where young people gave their input to the design of the library to make it more welcoming to them.

There is an increasing recognition of the value of involving those who will use a building in the process of shaping its function and design. Cultural intelligence specialises in using creative activities to help people who use a service to influence its development. In our experience, time spent placing service users in the position of client and helping them to draw on their own creativity and work on a level with experts to inform the design of a facility or service will produce a better outcome and save money because we’ll get it more right first time.

Lowestoft Rising

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Cultural Intelligence has worked in Lowestoft off-and-on for more than 17 years. In that time we have seen numerous attempts to produce the social and economic regeneration that the town so desperately needs. What has been missing is a concerted, joined-up, holistic solution. At last there is hope.

We were delighted to be invited to a workshop to help generate new thinking across the whole of the public and third sector in Lowestoft. In Lowestoft Rising there is good cause to hope for a ground-breaking demolition of the historic silo thinking which has been one of the barriers to success in the past. Of equal importance is an understanding that it will take time to achieve the significant change that is needed.

One thing we hope to see much more of is real engagement with the people most effected by the issues. The people of Lowestoft.  Involving local people creatively in designing the solution is the only way to produce the social regeneration that will need to accompany changes in service delivery.

The power of creative engagement to help reshape identity of place has been a major theme of our Associate, Steve Harris’s work in Barrow with ArtGene where many similar challenges are being addressed. It would be just great to be able to bring that experience to Lowestoft.

It is early days, some things will work and others will need to be revised but the apparent openness to fresh thinking is a promising sign. The initiative will need to generate a huge level of energy and interest and this is something that Cultural Intelligence can offer through our deliberative events and creative engagement campaigns.

 

 

No School an Island – whose job to raise the bar?

The RSA has published its report and recommendations based on its Raising the Bar inquiry into under achievement in Suffolk Schools.

Its approach in establishing nine solutions panels indicated a promising break with the traditional ‘done too’ approach that is so common in these instances. By locating the problems and the solution so firmly in Suffolk it signalled one of the most important elements of the solution, that everyone in Suffolk, people and organisations, have a responsibility to help turn the situation around. This line is equally supported by Deborah Cadman, Chief Executive of Suffolk County Council.

‘We believe that schools now need to open their doors more routinely and purposefully to a wider range of partners, engaging with employers to enable children and young people to have a richer understanding of, and engagement in, the world of work, and to involve the wider community, especially parents, in valuing education and raising
children’s achievement’.  Mathew Taylor CEO RSA

Cultural Intelligence, working with local Fellows of the RSA took the initiative in December 2012 forming Shout Out Suffolk to ensure that the voice of young people is present in the debate. Working with academics from University Campus Suffolk (UCS) we developed a programme of consultation receiving input from more than 500 young people and produced a report which was submitted as part of the evidence to the RSA inquiry.

Unlike the RSA inquiry, the focus of Shout Out Suffolk is about what we can do to support young people in Suffolk rather than what can be done to fix Suffolk schools. Both contribute to the same outcome.

Now Shout Out Suffolk is moving into a new phase where we will be developing and delivering projects to address some of the issues identified in our report. The next meeting is 6pm on 18th June at Coffee Republic on the docks in Ipswich. All welcome.

At Cultural Intelligence we will also be considering how we can use our skills to help young people and communities work collaboratively to help raise attainment.

‘No School an Island’ makes many recommendations with a strong focus on collaboration between schools and other organisations and parents. This is to be warmly welcomed. One would never expect to love all of the recommendations coming out of an inquiry like this but on the whole, we think there is some valuable work to be done off the back of this report.

No School and Island (full report)  No School and Island (summary report)

transparetn time race

by Christian age 13

Work begins for Red Rose

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Ci is to work with the award winning film and theatre company Red Rose Chain in the development of its innovative programme which helps people recover from habitual substance misuse whilst educating young people on the risks of using drugs.

We will be working with statutory commissioners to inform  the design of an evaluation which helps define the programme’s model of change and evidence its outcomes.

We will also be supporting the programme’s aim to inform the development of policy relating to recovery and drugs awareness. The programme is funded by The Big Lottery Fund and Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Sammy’s Room is a main part of the programme’s education intitaitve.

Time to Shout

 

The time has come for Suffolk’s young people to shout out about what they think would enable them to have the future they want. Cultural Intelligence has been working with Suffolk RSA Fellows and University Campus Suffolk to develop an innovative programme to allow young people to make their voice heard in the policy and strategy that affects their lives. The programme has been inspired by the Raising The Bar initiative which seeks to improve learning in Suffolk.

Young people are invited to submit their views to an online scrapbook whilst those who work or volunteer with young people are invited to run an engagement session using a toolkit developed by Ci and UCS.Ci is now working with others on the next phases of the project which we hope will make the voice of young people LOUD across Suffolk. You can find out more here

True Stories|Real Value

A landmark in Ci’s two year social impact study for the addiction charity NORCAS has been reached with the publication of a summary report which brings together the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the study to provide a full picture of the difference made by three different NORCAS programmes to the lives of clients and to the work of the different sectors including health, criminal justice and local authorities.

Key outcomes from the programmes include: improved general health, increased self-respect and improved mental wellbeing, improved relationships with family and friends, a reduction in criminal and anti-social behavior, more stable housing situations, progress towards education, training and work and greater financial stability.

We have plans to revist the sample of clients involved in this study to learn more about how the effects of the programmes are sustained 12 months after a NORCAS programme ends.

The social return-on-investment for each programme ranged from 1:3 to 1:19. Full details are provided in technical report on the outcomes survey.

You can download the summary report here : True Stories|Real Value Summary Findings

Theatre learning for schools

SfS_cover1-230x325A new brochure produced by Ci for two London young people’s theatre companies is now available for download.

This is part of an innovative project in which Cultural Intelligence was asked to help Immediate Theatre and Face Front Inclusive Theatre to work together to improve their offer for schools. The brochure includes a wealth of performances and workshops which provide a comprehensive offer across the PSHE, Healthy Schools and Wellbeing curriculum.

Topics include sex and relationships, identity and diversity, road safety, creativity, bullying guns, knives and gangs and school engagement.

Immediate Theatre

Face Front IInclusive Theatre

Transforming Theatre Transforming Lives

IT-logo1-196x170Cultural Intelligence is to help transform the socially-driven theatre organisation Immediate Theatre. The award winning company known for its innovative estate-based work with excluded young people in Hackney has commissioned Cultural Intelligence to conduct research and  provide strategic marketing support to build on 16 years success using theatre to engage vulnerable and excluded young people and move them into employment and a self reliant life.

“I am especially excited about this new partnership with Immediate” said Ci’s Director, Eric Orme “I began my career working in young people’s theatre in the multicultural communities of the West Midlands so this is something of a return to my roots. This challenge nicely combines Ci’s long experience in arts marketing with our more recent work on socially engaged research which makes a real difference to the lives of young people”.

 http://www.immediate-theatre.com/

Seminar on The Information Game

infogame-230x203Findings from ‘The Information Game’, Ci’s research into how marginalised adults in Suffolk access the important information needed to lead a full life, are to inform the development of new thinking among local authorities and third sector organisations in Suffolk. The findings will be presented at a seminar in Ipswich on 9th September alongside new research recently conducted by University College Suffolk. It is hoped that new thinking emerging from the seminar will help address the ‘struggle factor’ identified so clearly by Ci’s research.

Download the report