At the end of every week, I do a quick roundup of what’s been happening with the Counter Community, and Hometown Plus (my two kids)…

The Contribution Revolution

This last week has been immense.

It’s like when your kid reaches a milestone. On Wednesday, which I think was the 18th November , Andy released the new Counter Community website.

He doesn’t read these blogs so I might get away with it. He’s told me NOT to tell anyone that it’s live. This is because it still has bugs (e.g. the logos of the community hubs don’t load, and the email address is the same for all the orgs) that we can’t afford to fix. But all that’s beginning to change as our Innovate UK win goes to show. So please, don’t expect the site to be all singing and all dancing because it isn’t yet. What it is though is evidence of the value that is stored within communities and that can be unlocked simply by measuring it. This new measure, could have profound consequences, given what it measures, which is “Contribution to Community”. In other words, a world first for Stoke on Trent and North Staffordshire. My sense is that it has to become a brand new way of measuring success and a brand new way of doing business. Time will tell but I’m confident that this is going to fly off the shelves.

In other news, Barbara has asked me to be a Trustee at Sunshine House, Scholes, Wigan.

Wow — I’m so thrilled. This woman is a legend. The first time I met her, it was raining outside and I sat there in her old offices with Pat (RIP) and Eileen (RIP), whose grand-daughters now run this social enterprise, whilst a million people came in for this or for that, so a conversation which could have taken say 30 mins, lasted about 2 hours.

Interruptions didn’t bother B because she was used it. I wasn’t, and it did my head in. But during that two hour spell a young woman — say 25 — ran in, screaming, in just her bra and knickers. The “social” had taken her kids off her, and she didn’t know what to do, apart from over from the block of flats that towered over Sunshine House Community Centre to see if Barbara could do anything to help. A sit down, a coat and a cup of tea were the prescription.

As a shopping centre developer I was shell-shocked. As a community leader, Barbara was completely unfazed. “She was on booze or drugs”.

Welcome to community. That was my introduction not just to Barbara but to the role of frontline organisations and the part they play in clearing up the mess left by a system that fails to adequately provide for life’s most vulnerable.

I’ll leave it there for this week then — all round good news is the verdict on last weeks results.

Oh, and it reminded me about how much fun we had with WiganPlus — so much so that I’m going to ask B if we should get it back on its feet again. More on that another time.

Feel free to comment, and thanks for reading. Mike x