I came along to the Leaders For Leeds breakfast meeting last week and felt that it was very worthwhile. The network breaks down barriers between people who are senior, influencers and practitioners in the city, enabling conversations to happen which hold a lot of promise for getting things done and changed for the good without the hindrance of layers of bureaucracy to burrow through.
Steve Carey presented briefly about welfare benefits changes, and then we chatted in small groups about our own experiences of the effects of recent changes, things we were aware of which are happening in Leeds to help people affected, and we discussed new ideas and connections regarding future actions. In my group it was fascinating to hear about the impact on people phoning the Samaritans, using mental health services and on children and families connected with schools.
I was able to share the experiences of our volunteers and tenants, as well as suggesting contacts and possible routes forwards. At Canopy for example, we already provide access to IT facilities to our tenants and others, but we may be well placed in the community to extend this as more people will need to use the internet when Universal Credit goes live.
I went away and spoke to colleagues about how we use our community buildings and the potential work that we might be able to do over coming years if the funding was available. I am keen to remain part of the network in order to follow through with the great connections and ideas that are fostered at the sessions.