Low points, highlights and Cheryl Cole
At the end of a long and hectic week things can get you down. So it is all the more important to celebrate the good things. And there have been many.
Despite the tube strike on Wednesday, we managed a fantastic launch of the RSA Social Enterprise Spotlight at the Cass Business School - with over 70 people braving the traffic to get there.
Eight social enterprises have undertaken to shine a light onto their work for the next 12 months. Every month they will each provide an update through blogs on the RSA website, telling us the successes they have enjoyed, the challenges they face and their pledges for the next 3 months. On Wednesday each organisation had a brief slot to tell us their individual stories, giving us an insight into how often it was personal experience that drove them to want to help others and change society for the better. For example, we had a presentation from someone who had suffered a murder in their family channelling that experience into a force for good working with troubled youths and one of the sponsors of the event was himself a young offender who had turned his life round and was using his knowledge to help other young people who haven't had the best of starts in life. Most of the people there were Fellows and by the end of evening many had offered their support to the various enterprises.
Then last night I was with a group of fifty or so Fellows in Manchester. The North West is a great region with several highly motivated Fellows putting in sterling work to develop local activities and engage others with the work of the Society nationally. It is no coincidence that the region has been very successful in winning a number of Catalyst awards for local projects. One Fellow told us this was his second meeting in 35 years. When he said he hadn’t been sure about coming because he ‘didn’t think the RSA was an organisation that actually gets things done’ he was – in the nicest possible way – told to rethink by his fellow Fellows!
And on the way back this morning I got a call from our Head of Design, Emily Campbell. As part of the design and resourcefulness strand of our work, she has this week been running an innovative workshop which teaches people with severe spinal injuries design skills in order that they can take charge of redesigning their lives now that they are disabled. It was a risky project in that no one could predict how well it would work, but Emily reports that everyone involved, the people with disabilities, the designers who kindly gave up their time and various other attendees all thought it was great. The star turn in the workshop was David Constantine who turned to design himself after becoming disabled. By coincidence David was a recipient last night of the Bicentenary Medal at a star studded event in the Great Room.
I am sure Emily will blog herself at great length on the projects blog site. Although, to be honest, it is generous of me to mention this. I have a bet with Julian Thompson – Director of Projects – that I can carry on getting more blog hits per month for my efforts than his team can for theirs. Of course, it is silly to be competitive and even more silly to mention a celebrity in the title of my post just to try to lure some innocent readers into increasing my hit rate …
Jane Langely FRSA
Jane Langely FRSA launched 'Blue Patch' in 2014. It is a selective ethical marketplace for sustainable, local and heritage products including furniture, clothing, gifts, beauty and services such as ethical banks and sustainable printers. This March, it is coming to the Whitworth museum in Manchester!