I started Village In The City at the end of June 2020, during the pandemic lockdown in the UK, thinking that the future was going to be much more local than we had thought before, that I wanted to make my own neighbourhood more community oriented, and that I had skills and expertise in Host Leadership and Solutions Focus which might help – both forme and for others. It’s now one year on and I’m taking this opportunity to look back and see what we’ve achieved over the past 12 months. And in some ways, we’ve achieved quite a lot:
The main point, looking at all these detailed results, is the the idea of a Village In The City resonates strongly with a lot of people around the world. Indeed, we have villages from four continents on our map so far, which makes this project a really international one. And people love that – the idea that someone in (say) Bury in Lancashire in the north west of England is facing similar issues to someone in Bulgaria and someone else in Bolivia, and thanks to the magic of online connection they can talk about it together, is very exciting. It’s a kind of paradox – a worldwide movement about micro-local community building.
Our new Mighty Networks community is also helping to facilitate these connections, and also sharing and adding to our resource collection. If you’re looking to actively make a better community in your neighbourhood, do please join – it’s free and you’ll get updates and connections as things develop.
We’ve just welcomed our first Asian community project (in Singapore) to our Villages On The Map. This is a way to show visible commitment to developing your neighbourhood community and you just have to answer a few questions to put your place On The Map too. That gets you access to our private village builder calls to share and learn together.
We’ve had a dozen free calls with experts and people with something to say (and to learn from) about building community. These are all recorded and on Youtube, and are also being edited for podcast presentation (coming out every month or so). Plus our TEDx talk has reached a wide audience since its release in late 2020.
So, what for the future? We’re having a break from organising calls and events over the summer, we’re back in September with Nigel Gann on Hospitable Communities on Wednesday 22 September at 4pm. The very successful six-week Village Builder course will run again in October/November. And I am working on a short book, working title A Citizen’s Guide to Neighbourhood Building, with Asset Based Community Development advocate Cormac Russell which will see practical elements of ABCD, host leading and Solutions Focus coming together for the first time. And it’s all run on fresh air and enthusiasm – no funding, no grants, no payments, just the pure power of community action as commitment to peers.
We are also looking to expand our core team and volunteer group over the coming months – so if you’d like to get more involved with Village In The City as a citizen of your own village, helping with running the website and social media, developing practical resources, connecting us with interesting speakers and thought leaders, being a liaison in your country or region, translating the manifesto, writing a guest blog, or anything else, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s to the next year of making our lives better, our communities better, our neighbourhoods better and building connection with the people in our streets, blocks and spaces.