Cut the Crap: Making Community Leadership Work

Everyone seems to be claiming they are community-led, or that they support community leadership, or telling others they ought to do it.  

But what does being community-led actually look like on the ground? How do you make it work? What are the pitfalls and contradictions? How do you sustain it? Is it more of a frame of mind or must it be a formal process? Is it, indeed, always desirable?  

It’s time to have an honest ‘warts and all’ conversation that cuts through the glossy rhetoric so we can help people deal with the practical challenges of trying to make it work.

  • ‘Warts and all’ learning from high profile community-led organisations on the benefits and challenges of community leadership.
  • Connection with other community-led organisations, supporters, and funders who can offer practical support and guidance in response to your own specific questions or challenges.
  • Exploration of both the formal and much more informal ways community leadership emerges.
  • Support to start to work on your own practical challenges in committing to community leadership or trying to fund or support others to make it work.
  • A more rounded view of the opportunities and risks of community leadership.
  • A broader understanding of the different formal and informal ways of trying to make community leadership work, and how that might change over time.
  • New contacts and, hopefully, friends (we are gradually building a network around this topic).
  • Some practical ideas or next steps on your own personal challenges or opportunities.
  • ‍Those involved in community leadership roles.
  • The organisations and funders trying to support.
  • Those prepared to be open about their experiences.
  • Those who have practical challenges they would like to work through with others.

Bob Thust is the co-founder of Practical Governance providing hands-on governance support to organisations with a social purpose. He is a former Responsible Business Director at Deloitte UK and former Director of Programmes at the Power to Change Trust.  Above all he believes in the power of people and communities to find and determine their own solutions to the challenges that face them. He is a trustee of Local Trust and Treasurer of the Bevy community-owned pub in Brighton, where he spends far too much of his time, as well as a senior consultant for Numbers for Good and the Social Change Agency.

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