Exec Summary: October 2014

There has been a lot written and discussed about how the Community leadership and the grass roots activists can best work together.

I am very conscious that, even in the year that I have been doing this job, I have become part of the community “establishment”. In that context, I heard loudly and clearly the criticism and admonishment that emerged at our town hall meeting and which I read in the pages of communal newspapers. As a result, I have got out of my office and gone out to meet many of the grass roots leaders, organisations and some of the more vocal critics. My aim in doing this has been to hear what the thoughts and opinions are, to share what we have been doing and to work out the most effective ways for us all to work together.

I have always believed that the best way to respond to criticism is to discuss it openly, honestly and face to face. I am convinced that our community can work most effectively when the communal leadership and grass roots organisations work together. We recognise that we each have different roles to play, but if we can combine our respective strength, then the whole community can benefit.

My immediate conclusions from these conversations is that we have to get much better at communicating with the community; that we need to have a more effective way of using social media and that we need to find a way to link the many grass roots activists to each other and to us, to enable effective communication to take place. An example of the challenge I want to meet is - how could we help to take a great idea from, say, Leeds and ensure that it is shared and acted upon by activists all over the country? Right now that will happen haphazardly. I want to make it easy for us to do that. Our objective here is to create a comprehensive and effective network.

Meanwhile, how can we best communicate in a timely fashion what the communal leadership is doing? Many of the most effective meetings and discussions that we have had in recent weeks, or the results that we have achieved, have been expressly agreed to have been confidential. In fact, we have been meeting exactly the people and organisations that you would expect. This is a challenge which I know many people recognize.

What I feel the community wants to know is that the communal leadership understands the problems, has identified a strategy to deal with them, is acting on that strategy, can communicate it and is willing to find ways to allow the community to play their part in achieving those objectives.

I am determined to strengthen our connection with our community and the grass roots activists. I am willing to chat to or meet with as many people as I can to help to make our community work together most effectively. Please feel free to get in touch at info@thejlc.org if you would like to have a chat.