Monday, 13 April 2015

All Saints - no 2 on Trip Advisor

I was delighted to hear that All Saints Cafe are now ranked 2 out of 46 for food & drink locations in Leatherhead on Trip Advisor. In case you haven’t heard of them, All Saints CafĂ© has been born out of the Leatherhead Youth Project and its' aim is to nurture young people who need some help into employment. This demonstrates several different building blocks that a charity needs to get right if moving into trading…making a significant difference to the charity’s beneficiaries…delighting the customer AND getting them to tell people about it…enabling the word to get out through social media, etc. 

All Saints had great help from corporate partners on opening its' cafe. On that subject there has been much in the media about Cameron's pledge to get public sector and large companies to pay employees to do 3 days voluntary work a year. I was surprised to hear that this was backed by an unlikely source - the CBI. Also the Institute of Personnel and Development have issued a report that says 39% of large organisations already offer paid time for their employees to take part in volunteering opportunities, with an additional 23% offering unpaid time, not bad! 

Think of all these people - with their networks, skills and experience -  what a huge difference they could make towards solving some of the issues that charities are trying to solve. The challenge is to make great use of the time they have available. It’s easy getting people to paint fences. It’s a lot harder (but a lot more beneficial) to get them collaborating to solve issues.

I was told about this organisation today – City Camp Brighton – “a local network of people and events working to accelerate social innovation projects within the City, through providing support, funding and resource.”

This is the nearest thing that I have found to what we are aspiring to be with Communilab - groups of people from a variety of backgrounds/organisations collaborating towards shared goals. In their case it is to accelerate social innovation projects in Brighton, in ours it is to significantly improve the lives of young people in Surrey.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

International Collaboration

I beg your indulgence this week to talk about an idea that I had over the weekend that I would love to give away to someone who would like to run with it. Whilst obviously the main focus of my role is here in Surrey, I do sometimes wonder about the wider world and how we ensure peace for generations to come…. as I am sure many of you do.

On Friday we took the kids to the IMAX cinema in London to see an inspiring film about the launch of the International Space Station in the early 2000s. What struck me, apart from the amazing technical feats, was the wonderful collaboration between a large number of nations particularly Russia and America. The Russian missions to the international space station had American commanders and the American space shuttle missions had Russian commanders. The multinational teams of three work together for 3-4 years before going into space, getting to know each other extremely well.

This got me thinking more about how we can promote and celebrate this sort of international collaboration, especially those between people whose nations have a difficult relationship. I came up with the idea of an International Celebration of Collaboration where multinational groups of people from the world of science, sport, music, faiths and humanism, etc come together to celebrate the projects they have done together.  Other groups who want to start international collaboration could come along to learn and be inspired. So, if you know anybody who might like to get this underway… feel free to give them the idea. 

I only ask for an invite J