31 July 2016

now...august 2016

This is what I'm doing now. This is a mix of what I'm working on now, what's coming up and a spot of working and thinking out loud.

Sharing Learning Doing (my work)

  1. working on an evaluation with Neil Shashoua of Trapeze Consulting for a Newcastle-based charity, running 2016 to 2018
  2. planning a Little Library at Broadacre House, a trust-based lending library (I had to do something with the piles of books I've collected over the years for my non-fiction book group!). I hope to have it set up by the end of July middle of August and will share what I did in case it's something you want to do too
  3. working with a small group of people to set up a new website to help celebrate the amazing people and fantastic organisations doing great things in the north east. I'm really excited about this - the idea and working with a small group of people on something we all care about
  4. working on a monitoring and evaluation framework for a Newcastle-based charity, again with Neil Shashoua. I'm pleased because we've worked with them before and it's great to be able to build partnerships with organisations rather than only work on one-offs
  5. working to help register one organisation as a charity. It's a corporate foundation who want to take their "role as a corporate citizen seriously"
  6. working with a Gateshead social enterprise on a monitoring and evaluation framework for a planned funding bid and to help them understand their work and their impact better - we should hear this month if the bids has been successful or not
  7. writing A few good things to share, my newsletter to share inspiring, useful and exciting things. I haven't been doing well with this but I've now added it to my calendar and to my to do list to try to make it happen
  8. planning Soup for Six (or maybe Six for Soup?), a monthly lunch to bring me and five other people from Broadacre House together to meet, learn more about each other, and build relationships. The idea is that I'll make soup for six people once a month and send an open invitation for five of my fellow building users to join me. I think this is scalable ie more people can make soup for six and ask another five people to join them. I plan to share what happens with this too

My learning and networks

  1. learning social entrepreneur stuff - I'm a student on the School for Social Entrepreneurs 2015-2016 Start up programme with the Yorkshire and Humber school. It's a year-long programme with study days, action learning sets, a mentor and small start up grant. There have been nine study days so far and our action learning sets have started. The mentor element of the programme isn't working out for me but that's OK as I have other people who I can talk with. The graduation is coming up in September - what to say?! 
  2. being involved in Urbanistas North East (I'm part of the planning group). The last meet up on 19 July met the Low Fell Volunteer Gardeners, and was so inspiring to meet a group of committed local people wanting to make their streets a beautiful place to be. Urbanistas is a women-led network for women working on social change in cities
  3. running Collaboration Superheroes, which I co-host with Robert Laycock. When we first met in January, we took a big picture look at collaboration including defining it, what we're doing to make it great and what we're doing to make it fail. At our second meet up in April we heard a collaboration story and reflected on the skills, behaviours, feelings and system that were going on during the collaboration story and our own experiences. The latest event in June was all about trust, and I'll share the write up when it's ready. We're planning our next conversation for end of September
  4. reading Shrill: Notes from a loud woman by Lindy West for my book group. Our next meeting is 6 September - if you'd like to join, let me know
  5. reading Reinventing organisations: A guide to creating organisations inspired by the next stage of human consciousness by Frederic Laloux, mainly because someone told me I was very green  recently. Rather than get mad (OK, I did a little at first before he said "rather than orange"), I looked it up, which brought me to Frederic Laloux and his idea of "teal" organisations

Being an active citizen

  1. volunteering as a trustee of Northern Creative Solutions, which runs Broadacre House, a meanwhile space project turning an empty 40,000sq ft/6 storey office block in Newcastle upon Tyne into a thriving community hub and home for charities (25 and growing), social action and creativity. It's brilliant, and I became chair of the charity in March. We had a celebration the other week to launch our annual review - it was great to talk with the organisations that have made Broadacre House their home and to ask them what else they wanted to see in the building
  2. volunteering as a trustee of Scotswood Natural Community Garden. We run and manage a beautiful garden in Scotswood, Newcastle upon Tyne, to help people learn about nature, sustainability and growing and be more healthy
  3. running (with William Mortada, Holli Brown and Fiona Punchard) Newcastle Social Media Surgery to help people (community activists, charities, community groups) to use social media better. Our next surgery is on Thursday 25 August so if you or someone you know needs help with social media, come along

Sequins and Tweed

  1. working on some product lines for an open studio event in August - so far I've made felt ball garlands, repurposed vintage playing cards for greeting cards, and, inspired by 70s string art, have hand-stitched Christmas cards (starting early) - and now need to get on to packaging and pricing I've decided not to do the open studio event as it was just one thing too much this month. It's a shame but I feel good about my decision
  2. wondering what to do with this blog

I stole this idea from Derek Sivers. It's such a good idea to steal that loads of other people have done the same and there's now a now page movement plus a website that lists people's /now pages nownownow.com.

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