In 2017, Tempo was commissioned by Lancashire County Council to explore how health and wellbeing can be improved by connecting and strengthening its communities in a one-year action research project.
The aim of this work was to produce a framework to support service-providers in mobilising communities to improve health outcomes. This involved both learning from ongoing work to collaborating with partners such as; Healthier Fleetwood, Morecambe Bay Art of Hosting, Mutual Gain World Cafe, Learning Together NorthWest Ltd to develop test systems and tools that help connect and mobilise people to action.
Inspired by growing interest in ‘social movements’ as a way to achieve large-scale change, this approach to improving health has developed from the idea that institutions and services can produce better outcomes by involving people in the changes that are intended to support them. This approach recognises that communities and the assets within them are the building blocks for good health.
At Tempo we believe everyone has something to give and people make change happen. We were delighted to work on a project that so closely aligned with our values and supported our learning in putting those values into practice. Building on 5 years’ experience developing Time Credits networks across Lancashire, we were honoured to bring our wealth of knowledge around community capacity building to work with local groups and service-providers on this exciting mission.
“Strong and resilient communities are a vital determinant of health and wellbeing for our populations. Working with Tempo has helped us reframe our work in terms of understanding our communities and building relationships which really seek to put them at the heart of identifying need and solutions. The work that Tempo have done will underpin our approach to neighbourhood working with our communities to help them thrive.” – Dr. Sakthi Karunanithi, Director of Public Health, Lancashire County Council
Our findings show that relationships are at the heart of community mobilising and therefore should be the focus of what we do and measure. We identified the following 4 principles that are important to people: trust, authenticity, shared power and reciprocity. We found that to build a strong community people need to trust one another, be caring towards everyone, give everyone an opportunity to voice their thoughts and to value the time that people give. In the report, we set out a framework to support service-providers in thinking about how to exercise this approach.
“Relationship is at the heart of community. We find this time and again, and yet traditionally, as organisations, we pay very little attention to it. Specifically, we found that our professional systems and culture are the biggest barrier to communities mobilising themselves. The best examples of community mobilising focus on building the conditions for communities to thrive.”- Anna Lewis, Board of Trustees, Tempo Time Credits