Link4Growth is about building local communities through high levels of engagement. That means recognising that there is much that needs doing in our community and that we can take action to do it. So far so good, but how?
Below are 10 essential things Link4Growth is delivering. You might be attending events and not even know you’re doing them they come so naturally to us.. Provided we do meet other local people (and invite other people we know too!) we are delivering on pretty much all of these points.
Sounds so simple doesn’t it? But this is a huge deal. We stopped talking to each other. We stopped meeting at the Market, the bakers, the butchers and candlestick makers. Now we are used to walking past people and not saying hello and have become isolated islands detached from our community. So talking “face to face” with other people is a big step forward already!!
By talking we are connecting, but by finding out about people, taking an interest, we can start to see how other members of our community might be useful for others to know. Do you know such ‘n’ such? Have you spoken with ‘what’s his name?’. These are things we hear often at Link4Growth, people helping others to solve problems through connecting.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the bringing together of businesses and social organisations such as not-for-profit, charities or community interest companies. Very often businesses welcome the opportunity to give back to the community but they find it difficult to find and then engage with local charities. This is often due to small charities lacking the resources to promote themselves or manage the relationship as staff are focused on meeting the needs of its beneficiaries. Link4Growth is taking away this pain for businesses by bringing them together with community organisations; meeting over a lunch, where they can talk and find out more about these unsung local heroes doing such great work in the community. It is surprising what can and does happen! The Community Student Initiative (CSI) is about introducing students on IT, Web, Design and Media courses to local independent charities and businesses to assist charities remove their cloak of invisibility. This is done by creating an online presence using the coursework from the lecture hall and then creating real benefit for the community whilst learning real life skills of how to use the knowledge they are acquiring in a “real” life situation for a real client.
Developing both interpersonal social skills through participation and inclusion at events and a greater understanding of how to use the Internet to engage and continue conversations after the physical/actual events. Link4Growth uses most of the popular online platforms and so it is a natural evolution for those attending to be introduced and helped along on this journey.
When people come together we talk, we also share knowledge, expertise, stories and other useful information. This help knit the local community together. Many people just don’t know what is going on locally, Link4Growth provides this hugely important platform for sharing and participation
Through conversation and our education platform, Link4Skills provides a rich platform of training and a uniquely refreshing approach to encourage all of us who have expertise and knowledge to pass this on to those who wish to learn. This enables us to seamlessly collaborate, where we can support and help each other to grow. We call this ‘the peoples’ university’. We can all have (or want) a specialism, something we’re known for, Link4Growth enables its members through conversation to learn where and who has the skills and tap into the Link4Skills education platform, or share what we have with others wanting to develop their talents
Developing the concept of utilising the services of local people we meet and doing business ourselves more locally. Although Link4Growth is about community building, the local economy and business are hugely important. 30% of what goes on locally is directly business related and keeping the trade (and money) inside the community does have huge benefits. Link4Growth encourages people to meet at events and to work with each other, exchange skills and do more locally. This is turn is far more sustainable, who would rather drive to the other end of the country when most if not all business could be done within a 5 mile radius? ‘What if we knew you?’ the Link4Growth strap line is all about connecting us all together locally. If everyone knew you and what you do, the odds are you would be exceptionally busy!
The whole environment of Link4Growth is underpinned with more than a whisper of taking responsibility. Discussions are about health, nutrition, taking action, learning new skills, personal development, finding our passion, doing what we love, collaborating, supporting and helping each other… and what we can contribute to the community. Link4Growth is a family of people who have decided (or are in the process of) taking responsibility for their lives and it is a fascinating and amazing community to be part of.
The Link4Growth community forum along with the vast national network of district communities and web sites provides ample opportunity for us to share great stories that need to be told. These stories could be projects, things that have made a huge difference in the lives of others and could be rolled out and deployed in other parts of the country… how can we do this if we are not all connected together? Link4Growth provides the local community growth but knits this all together nationally. No need to re-invent the wheel, when a solution to common problems has already been devised elsewhere. This can prevent us repeating mistakes, allows us to improve the solutions by adding more brains to the challenge, and can speed deployment processes
Through conversation we constantly find people at events who are doing amazing work in the community. There are thousands of people, but they are invisible and trying to work it out on their own, like islands struggling to keep their head above water. Link4Growth helps to link up individuals and organisations who are doing ‘similar’ things or complementary projects. These people are not competing, they are looking to deliver some solution or other to a problem. Connecting people and organisations in this way, helps remove obstacles faster, saves money and brings renewed energy for everyone. Link4Growth by its very existence is helping to join up the dots of these individuals and organisations doing good work out there
Most people or individuals are generally good people. The challenge we all have is that giving to worthy causes is just too hard! First, you can’t find these worthy local causes they are invisible as already mentioned, secondly they have been so indoctrinated to pursue the ‘giving pot’ that now it is being squeezed they are at a loss as to what to do. Link4Growth brings these worthy causes back into the community where they can be seen, talk, share their challenges, possibly even collaborate with others over common resources. These charities do not necessarily need money, what they need is connections and things being sorted. The wider their network the easier it is to solve the challenges. Link4Growth offers ample opportunities for people to contribute to community organisations with knowledge, skills and services. Link4Growth offers community organisations a rich vein of supportive diverse skills that have a giving disposition… it works!
There are many that like to give, to make others happy. For many, giving without expecting return provides the reward in itself, and it is a good habit for community building. So who can participate in community building?