In January, 30 Fellows from across the South West gathered to meet newly elected Fellowship Councillors Neil Beagrie and Robin Tatam and discuss how we might shape our programme of activities in our region this year.
Bringing expertise from Truro and St Austell, across to Bournemouth and Salisbury, and up to Bristol Cheltenham; we considered the needs in our communities and the distinctive role of the RSA in bringing people together, amplifying great ideas for social change and acting as a catalyst for innovative initiatives.
Local issues that we highlighted to explore were:
- Resolving practical problems of rural transport with decision-makers to reduce car use where possible
- Enhancing democratic engagement and listening as citizens navigate changing structures
- Responding to ecoanxiety and mental health concerns as pressures on wellbeing increase
- Talking openly about data ethics and ownership, especially for excluded groups of people
- Planning food security and climate resilient food production as part of building regenerative futures
- Strengthening local culture and arts, including live performances as funding constraints increase
- Growing environmental and socially responsible businesses with strong links in their local communities
- Closing the attainment gaps for children with special educational needs or living in poverty
- Advocating for clean beaches, good quality water and upgraded sewage infrastructure
- Matching professional skills across the voluntary sector to network our rich resource of skills
We also talked about deepening our regional connections through the RSA’s new digital platform and our regional coworking space(s). And to strengthen our conversations and make the most of cross-sector collaboration, we were reminded about prioritising jargon-free language and using creative facilitation skills. We agreed to continue with a mix of online events and local meetings, with maybe a regional gathering in future.
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Upcoming South West England Fellowship events
RSA South West Coffeehouse
Inspired by the RSA’s origins in Rawthmell’s Coffeehouse over 250 years ago, our Coffeehouse series offers Fellows across the South West the chance to meet online and share ideas for social change