Weeknotes 2021
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Weeknotes 2021

Weeknotes 2021 — week 38

This week I’m keeping it sensible.

I’m always surprised but grateful that people read and respond to these, particularly as in my last notes I started rambling about Mayor McCheese and OKRs. I was worried I had done a Fonzie…

So this week I’m doing a Jane Austen instead, and keeping things sensible. So I am going to focus on work and will try to refrain from too many puns.


How do you transform neighbourhoods? Many have tried — some have succeeded, but more haven’t. This is the challenge Power to Change set itself several years ago, working in partnership with six neighbourhoods to catalyse change. We’ve just published a whole load of new insights related to our Empowering Places programme, building on our previous research and analysis. This includes a report looking at the enablers and barriers of place-based change, which Bonnie summarises in her great blog:

“The enablers include the focus on relationships and trust, a strong peer network, the structure of the programme and its support, the delivery partners and the local context.

Barriers also consist of the local context, as well as the time and resource needed for change, the programme flexibility and its complexity, the risks to individuals and communities, and of course the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Alongside this report we’ve also published a process evaluation of the programme and data-laden profiles of all six neighbourhoods, contextualising the challenges they are tackling in a range of areas. Strongly recommend checking it out:

This week also saw the release of the ‘Diversity Data Dashboard’, which looks at how three major funders and investors are performing in serving the needs of minoritised ethnic communities. This is part of our commitment to equity and racial justice, and we were pleased to support it alongside Access and Social Investment Business. It is a first step towards greater transparency and action, and highlighted the need for better, more open data. This is essential if we are going to continue evidencing the barriers experienced by minoritized ethnic-led organisations when accessing funding; and also improve accountability of funding decision-making.

R,D + D

How do we support communities to thrive and flourish in our changing economy? One of the key tools we have in our toolbox is community ownership. The community business movement has historically (and quite rightly) focused on tangible assets. Yet things are changing, fast. We know the wider UK and global economies are rapidly changing such that intangible assets (such as software, brands, R&D and design) are becoming as important as tangible assets (such as farms, buses or buildings). How can we best support communities to not just adjust to this change, but embrace and lead it?

This was the challenge we set for Rachel Coldicutt and Anna Dent at Careful Industries. They’ve just published the findings from their discovery research, in which they make the case for supporting and strengthening the technologies that community organisations are already making and using. We’re now referring to this as ‘Community Tech’, which they’ve helpfully defined as tech that is:

  • Created by a community organisation for its own use
  • Created by a community organisation for reuse by others
  • Created by a community organisation as infrastructure to support a broader community of practice

They explore this and more in the three blogs below, which are well worth a read. The next steps for us is to explore how we can best support and catalyse community tech.

Speaking of discovery research, we also currently have an ITT to help us develop innovative and long-lasting interventions to support community businesses with their financial management skills and capabilities. In particular we are seeking organisations that can support them with: actively addressing weaknesses in financial management, moving from spreadsheets to cloud-based accounting, accessing grant funding from national trusts and foundations, and reviewing business models. If you think this is you (or an org you know), apply below!

And that’s it for this week, without too many puns. Happy Days!



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Stephen Miller

Stephen Miller


Social researcher and writer. Putting theory into practice, to make the world a better place.