Dear friends and fellow activists,
BAPS is planning a Barnet autumn conference for local campaigners on Sunday 22 November, titled #OurBarnet #OurServices #OurFuture.
We all learn daily how important solidarity is. Our experience of campaigning in Barnet proves that the different campaigns, even the single-issue ones, are all linked. From housing, through protecting our immediate or borough-wide environment to defending our public libraries, schools, social services and other public services, and whether we are residents or workers in Barnet, we find ourselves sympathising with the aims of other local or less local campaigns, supporting them and needing their support. Meeting others who feel strongly about the issue they are campaigning on is empowering and the networks built through these acquaintances and shared experiences are effective.
The objective of this conference therefore is to bring together all of us who are campaigning on different issues in Barnet, to discuss the questions that people from all the campaigns want to explore, as well as campaigning questions such as:
- what worked?
- why did it work?
- what did not work?
- Why? What went wrong?
- what do we need to skill up?
- Or any other burning issue that needs brainstorming and answers, as will come up in the meeting.
We would like you to organise and host this conference jointly with us. It will be facilitated in the Open Space format that proved hugely successful and truly empowering in a big public meeting that we held last November, hosted jointly by BAPS, Barnet Housing Group and Our West Hendon.
Organising and facilitating this with us is a training opportunity that we offer you, to learn this effective way of running democratic discussions. It will equip you with skills that you can later use elsewhere. Please check out what is the Art of Hosting here.
We are fortunate to have an experienced facilitator, Paulette Singer of Clitterhouse Farm Project and Our West Hendon, (Paulette is a community organiser previously at West Hendon estate) and 3 other experienced Open Space ‘hosts’ helping us to facilitate this conference.
In the Housing meeting last November it provided space for a democratic, open and thorough discussion in which everyone could contribute, and the ‘harvest’ (results) of which were the community’s submission to the Housing Commission that took place later that year. [I attach this document here to give you a flavour of how it looks and what can be achieved].
I would like to invite you to a planning meeting (probably one of 2 or 3), on Wednesday 30 September at 12 noon. The venue of this meeting will depend on how many of us are participating, so please let me know ASAP if you or someone from your group are interested in principle, and whether you can make it to this meeting.
Hope to hear from you soon,
Tirza, BAPS (07534-407703)