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Director blog August 2022 – Impact-led Strategy

Our vision is of a ‘diverse and vibrant community where residents are driving change’. The vision is of residents driving change – residents as leaders not followers. That is the world as it should be not as it is. That is why it is a vision – a vision is a vivid dream; we are in the business of selling dreams. Of creating the world as it should be rather than scaling back our ambitions. That is a vision.   

Our mission is to ‘create positive spaces and opportunities for resident empowerment and wellbeing’. Every inch of land is monetised. Every conversation in the community and every action that impacts on communities can be liberating, to the extent that local people drive change.  Wellbeing allows people to make healthy choices and drive change in all areas of their lives.   

To enable this to happen we aim to develop leaders, nurture relationships, exert influence and support enterprise to achieve our vision and mission. 

When we started out, we tried out lots of different approaches; tech companies sometimes describe this as throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks. Testing, reviewing, prototyping.   

We’ve done large scale growth summits attended by hundreds of people, weekly leadership classes for young citizens, social enterprise workshops, door knocking, street stalls, leafleting to every household on the area, meetings with politicians and bigwigs, monthly forums on planning and conservation, arts based events, community gardening, litter picking, campaigns, resident action groups, online arts classes, sports activities, walks and talks, newsletters and newspapers, videos, away days, training of all descriptions, volunteering programmes, service delivery, partnerships and collaborations across the borough, in fact across London, nationally and internationally.   

We have done a lot of things. A lot of events, meetings, outreach, activities, training etc. So what? How do we know it made a difference? How do we know it delivered our vision, mission and aims? We need to get smart, to work smarter. We will never know if we made the kind of impact we hoped for in our vision, mission and aims unless we spell out what impact we want in ways that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timed, evaluated and reviewed.   

Impact-led strategy is about being led by the impact you want to create and being your purpose as an organization, rather than having a purpose (Fisher 2020). It is very easy for any organization or group to be busy being busy, never pausing to consider if actions are having the right kind of impact. This strategic reflection needs to go with the flow because sometimes the same groups over-think things instilling a kind of paralysis by analysis. There is a sweet spot whereby the actions and analysis go hand in hand, so that impact is at the forefront. That’s the place I’m keen to inhabit. That is the place where true change is made. 

Matthew Scott 

TWCP Director 

YCAG regular Anna excels as part of Inclusive Leadership Programme

TWCP has recently supported young people it works with as part of the Unified Action Programme, which aims to promote shared values among people of all backgrounds through sustainable social integration and meaningful civic participation. The programme has been designed to promote understanding and shared values between and within faith and ethnic communities, and other communities, which form a part of civil society.

The focus is on supporting young people aged 14-25 years old to become Unified Action Ambassadors, inclusive leaders who focus on empowering future generations; connecting communities by promoting understanding and shared values; achieving greater diversity in the governance of sport and broader civil society; standing united against all forms of hate and most importantly giving young people a platform to have their views heard by decision makers. It is delivered jointly by Youth Sport Trust, Sporting Equals and 2-3 Degrees and funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Unified Action Ambassadors believe in a society where no one feels excluded, left behind or that they are just standing on the side lines.

Jamie from TWCP has been running the Young Citizen Action Group (YCAG) at Riverside School since TWCP first began back in late 2017 and Anna, one of the Unified Action programme participants, has been one of the most committed members, attending almost every session since she first joined Riverside School in Year 7. He commented:

“It’s been great to have Anna involved as part of this programme. She attended all of the online training sessions in the evening and was confident enough to speak in front of all of the programme attendees at the final celebration event. I’ve seen Anna’s confidence and leadership skills skyrocket during her time on the programme. She has recorded video messages to local community groups, to the entire student body of her school and taken proactive steps in meeting with Riverside Primary School parents to help promote involvement in the new Barking Food Forest site next to Riverside Campus”.

Jamie Kesten, Senior Community Organiser (Thames Ward Community Project)

As one of the youngest participants in the programme Anna was particularly impressive in the strides she took as an inclusive leader and the confidence and passion she has shown, which has been noted by her athlete mentor, Vernon Samuels, a former Olympic Triple Jumper:

It’s been an absolute pleasure to connect with Anna as her Athlete Mentor and as the youngest young leader involved in the Unified Action programme. Anna wasn’t intimidated by the fact that the age spread of participants went all the way to 25 year olds! Nor was she daunted by a lack of peer support when the two other young people involved in the programme as part of the Thames Ward Community Project were unable to continue.

Anna has shown week after week of the programme a steely resilience and determination that shows she is a young leader on a mission to improve the quality of life for her community – and especially for the pupils of her local primary school where Anna’s hard work and influence as a leader will facilitate access and engagement with the new Barking Food Forest, ensuring it is an inclusive and accessible space for members of the primary school and their families to enjoy along with the wider community.

Despite tight deadlines and a big to do list, Anna refuses to be intimidated by the size of the task at hand. With her humble and articulate approach, Anna draws on available support and expertise to help carry forward her dream of the community garden space into reality.

Vernon Samuels, Athlete Mentor & Ambassador for the Unified Action Programme

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