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Saturday saw me heading to Stockton-on-Tees to speak to a joint Durham University/RSA conference entitled ‘There is such a thing as society’.  I heard some fantastic presentations from inspiring people doing great things in the community.

Iain Caldwell was fascinating about the transformative work of Hartlepool Mind and his reference to the 'human givens' approach to therapy has opened up a new literature to me.

Reverend John Elliston told the story of the 700 Club in Darlington; from its humble origins asking 700 citizens to give or loan £50 to buy a terraced house for emergency accommodation for the homeless to its current dilemmas about how to retain its radicalism and responsiveness while also relying on public grants.

I also listened to RSA activist Patricia (‘Paddy’) Deans who had worked with other Fellows to first persuade and then support her local health practice to build a state of the art, fully sustainable, health centre. Paddy is modest about her contribution but it is clear the RSA was the catalyst, even if the work was then done by the health practice, architects and the North East eco-centre.

I suggested to Paddy that we might develop an RSA Network dedicated to giving Fellows advice and support in seeking to make local new buildings fully sustainable. I’ve put this to our networks team here so watch this space.


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