Every week for the purposes of internal communication I do a round up of this past week.

A new way to take a stake in your community?

Another mad week which began with a ‘collective’ team meeting hosted by the amazing Alex from UnLtd. About 8 of us spend an hour each week making plans for the future. I love it. Love them. Good people, all of them.

Then I had Tim Edwards, Alex and me met to discuss ‘Getting More Organised” across the Stoke and North Staffs region. Counter Community has no infrastructure but is managed by me and the amazingly resilient if not dogged, Brian Leyland. In order to grow the organisation we need to build an infrastructure including governance, CEO/manager, business development, finance and HR etc. Nicci from Profit for Purpose is helping with this work. (S*i5 hot they are).

Nesta are sort of interested in what we’re doing. The ace Liz North is giving us some informal advice on how to catch the eye of the LEP (skills and training) and how devolution might work in terms of process, for a place like Stoke and North Staffs (if Sheffield is anything to go by it’s a 5 year process).

We’re getting back together again with the YMCA, which I’m really excited about. I love everyone in that organisation and I honestly can’t think of a better CEO than their frontman Danny Flynn. His management skills (and heart) are second to none. Love you Danny. (And Nicky!) x

Then we (HT+) submitted a bit to Innovate UK: An AI-Driven Chatbot That Connects Individuals to Personalised Mental Health and Wellbeing Services That Could Save The COVID-19 Impacted NHS £73M PA. I think it’s an ace application but let’s see what they think. We really are beginning to crystallise our tech for good software development capabilities. I’m very pleased with the two wings to the business that we have. It’s really quite unique that we can have two bites at the cherry more or less all the time.

Next we appointed a recruitment consultant to fill this post.

Then Lisa from VAST and I agreed that it would be more than sensible to join forces as part of the getting organised work mentioned above. What a great team we’re turning into.

Then Jenn Spice and I got excited about the plan we’re working on…it’s called “Let’s Kill The Debt: Join the experiment in Stoke & North Staffs”. (We both are familiar with debt — I entered into an “Individual Voluntary Agreement” in 2009/10 because I couldn’t pay back the banks the £59m I owed them). Here’s Jenn — massive respect to the lass for letting me film her, haha but what a poet…

Then I had an AGM with the ace Bernie Webb and team from CAFAG, where I am a Trustee. What a team they’ve got there. What great work they do. Linda is retiring with Emily taking over. They’ll be joining the Counter Community in the new year.

On the name “Counter Community”…my mate Tony suggests we call it “Community Counter” instead. Not a bad shout when this is the case:

What do you think of the name? Better or worse?

Next up I managed to persuade reps from six of the Potteries best “Community Service Organisations” to get involved in a bit of tech research with our-Andy who’s working up the concept of a Community Wellbeing Network. Very exciting. By designing the network with people who represent the marginalised communities of the long-term unemployed; young people in care; people with learning disabilities; Christians; older people; asylum seekers and refugees, we really are taking inclusivity and diversity to a whole new level.

Very excited to be working with such amazing people.

Finally — I could never work out why I ended up working in Stoke and North Staffs. It wasn’t until I read this amazing article that I understood why.

Feel free to comment — you’ll be the first if you do!

Mike :)

P.S. I was also invited — by my old friend Barbara — onto the Board of Trustees at the amazing Sunshine House in Wigan. Wow.

I’m a regeneration practitioner working in Stoke and North Staffs. People, place, tech — it’s all in the mix!