Local Area Coordination in England and Wales

December 2020
Updates on Local Area Coordination, the work of the Network and the areas implementing Local Area Coordination.
In this month's edition we'll be covering:
  • Local Area Coordination Week (7-11 December)
  • The Spirit of Lockdown
  • New Job Vacancies
  • and more...

Update from Nick Sinclair, Director of the Local Area
Coordination Network

Reflecting on 2020 and looking forward with hope

Well, that was 2020! It goes without saying it was a very odd year of great extremes. At times it’s been tragic, as we witnessed the full and devastating impact of this ongoing pandemic unfold. However, at other points it was inspiring and encouraging too, as we saw the true potential of people, communities and our service systems shine bright in so many places across the UK.

As we approached the end of this challenging year our Network rallied together online for our first ever Local Area Coordination Week which we held last week. This was an opportunity for us to celebrate our work in a variety of ways, mostly through the lens of celebrating our ten principles. Our online conference last Tuesday heard a variety of inspiring talks from Clenton Farquharson, Jessica Studdert, Nick Gardham, Sian Lockwood, Serena Jones, David Robinson, Clare Wightman, Angela Catley, Simon Duffy and Ralph Broad.  It was opened by Eddie Bartnik who shared his perspective based on his 30 years involvement with Local Area Coordination internationally. It was a celebration of the principles of Local Area Coordination, the reasons why we do what we do, and was enjoyed by 180 viewers contributing their thoughts and reflections throughout.  We will be sharing videos from it soon, as well as publishing a reflective piece about what was shared in February. A massive thank you to our speakers for your valuable and insightful contributions.

Last Thursday we also held our annual gathering where 70 people from across our Network (and some Local Area Coordination people from other parts of the world) came together to share, reflect and document the various challenges and successes from 2020. It was great to see people come together and support each other in such a positive way.

Whilst the events felt very different to the richness of connection that come with being together in the real world, they were something at least, and feedback has been very positive. Taking time to come together and reflect is such an important part of Local Area Coordination and this is something we’ve been trying to facilitate in a different way as a Network over these last 9 months, some of which I just wanted to share here.

In addition to a weekly bulletin, between March and August we held online gatherings on a weekly basis that many Coordinators and Managers attended. These helped us shape this timeline of the pandemic through the lens of Local Area Coordination that we hope is a helpful reflective resource.

This year we also managed to complete a number of other pieces of high-profile online work, including an excellent event with Swansea Council and the Welsh Government in October, and various webinars and workshops too, including one recently with the Local Government Association (LGA). Using our Network member’s feedback, we also re-launched our gatherings programme, developing it into more structured informal learning sessions online with guest speakers and break out room workshops etc.
We were delighted that development work with our new areas Havering and Luton has continued throughout, with Havering’s two Coordinators starting work during the summer and Luton currently developing plans to recruit in the new year. 
Our Network co-produced report Which Way Next, which we published in July, has been well received, and helped inspire active conversations with new Local Authorities which are looking promising in some areas.
In many areas of the Network the profile and focus on Local Area Coordination has never been higher, and nationally our work is being routinely cited in various papers. This year the 15th independent evaluation on Local Area Coordination was published focussing on Derby’s work, funded by the Department for Education. We say a big congratulations to them all on 10 years of hard work that has paid off with full city-wide coverage this year too.
All of this, and much more, will be reflected next year in a forthcoming book on Local Area Coordination that many of the Network have contributed pieces to. Since February this year Ralph Broad, Eddie Bartnik and I have been meeting online every week to plan and shape it. It will be published by the Centre for Welfare Reform, edited by Simon Duffy and we are really excited to see what that brings in terms of new learning and conversations.
May I just say a massive thank you to everyone in our Network for all you have done this year. Your dedication and passion for Local Area Coordination and your caring approach to helping people, families and communities achieve their vision of a good life has never been more apparent. I am so very hopeful that we will soon be back out and about alongside each other and the communities you all serve again. For now, may I wish you all a very peaceful Christmas and positive start to 2021!

Useful publications inc. those on Local Area Coordination
and/or Asset Based work

We Don't Have a Health Problem, We Have a Village Problem
This paper by Cormac Russell considers the shift in new health programmes towards socialisation. It advocates citizenship and looks at alternative health systems from and asset-based community development (ABCD) perspective and includes approaches such as Community Organising and Local Area Coordination
 Read the full report
A Glass Half Full: 10 Years On Review
10 years after the publication of A Glass Half Full by the Local Government Association it is still being read. This review looks at why the asset based approach has been so popular and features a case study about the asset based approach and Local Area Coordination in York alongside other examples from Gateshead, Leeds, Oldham and Wigan. Read the full report
COVID-19 and Communities Listening Project: A Shared Response
This report by the Carnegie UK Trust considers how organisations and communities across the UK adapted and responded to the emergency phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the full report

Local Area Coordination Week

As Nick mentioned above,  Local Area Coordination Week (7-11 December)  was a great success! We had our two main events, the Local Area Coordination Conference and the Global Gathering, accompanied by a lot of social media activity and some exciting work within our communities.

As part of #LocalAreaCooordinationWeek the Swansea LACs launched a video celebrating the amazing community spirit and generosity that people have shown in helping each other throughout the recent lockdowns. Watch the video here.

We'll be publishing content from Local Area Coordination Week on our website in January 2021, which will include videos from the events.

life-saving community connections

Senior Local Area Coordinator Jennie Cox has ben speaking to Joe Gardham at Social Vision as part of the Introducing... series. Jennie offers great insight into Local Area Coordination in York, the challenges of 2020 and looking forward to the opportunities in 2021. Check out the full interview here.

"We are very much embedded in the wider system, in a really broad sense – because we can support people with anything and everything they come to us with it is so important we have a good network of system partners to link in with and work alongside." - Jennie Cox

CollaborAGE Directory

Local Area Coordination is now included in the CollaborAGE Directory created by Housing LIN. Listed under the People As Connectors section, one of 'the nine elements for collaborative success', our listing in CollabourAGE forms part of a collection of materials to champion community-based approaches in relation to housing. You can see the full directory here.

The Spirit of Lockdown

The Spirit of Lockdown, our partner project with The Relationships Project, is working to surface some of the untold stories of lockdown in 2020. So far there have been two workshops involving some of our Local Area Coordinators, and the first two stories are now available to read online.

The project is ongoing and we'd love to hear your experiences. If you have any lockdown stories, please share them on this page.

"Our Local Area Coordinator managed to organise a mini classical concert on our doorstep" - Rosalyn
"My relationships feel deeper now and they go beyond just small talk."  - Simon

Job vacancies

4 x Local Area Coordinators
Employer: Havering Council
37.5 hours pw 
1 post x Harold Hill area (18 month fixed term contract)
3 posts x South Hornchurch and Rainham and Wennington areas (2 year fixed term contracts)

Local Area Coordination is a new approach for Havering. Two Local Area Coordinators are already in post in Harold Hill and the new posts will join the team. As a Local Area Coordinator you will “walk alongside” people to achieve their vision of a better life, assisting that person to deal with the things is their life that they want to change.
Closing date: Monday 21 December 2020

5 x Local Area Coordinators

Employer: Swansea Council
Full Time
Fixed term until 31 March 2022
5 x posts covering: Cockett, Penlan, Dunvant & Killay, Gorseinon and City Centre North. 
Local Area Coordination is an exciting approach that supports people to build and pursue their vision for a good life, stay strong and resilient, and which results in services which are more personal, local, flexible and accountable.
Closing date: Tuesday 22 December 2020

New Book: Circling the Square; Cwmbwrla,
Coronavirus and Community

A Swansea community have written and published a book about facing Covid-19; looking into family histories and community responses. Chapters are broken down into individual experiences to provide a personalised history of those living through the pandemic. Read all about it here.

Podcast: Reasons to be Cheerful with
Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd

In episode 168 Ed and Geoff talk about 'Reimagining the State'. Hear how East Ayrshire council reimagined their relationship with local residents, and Adam Lent from think tank New Local chat about why he thinks ‘community power’ is the future of public services.  

Live Well York - The Happy To Chat Bench

In Haxby, York the Happy To Chat Bench is being used by Local Area Coordinators as a useful tool to connect individuals in the community. Read about John's story here.

Artworks Exhibition for Artists with Learning Disabilities

ArtWorks Together is a virtual exhibition that will be running March - May 2021 and will showcase and celebrate the work of artists with learning disabilities across the globe. Applications are now open. Find out more here.

Useful blogs

Social care is a tool not a destination by Anna Severwright

Loneliness can be tackled by knowing just six neighbours by Amelia McGuire

A long term framework to transform social care? by Neil Crowther

How to get in touch

Email or phone Rachel for general enquiries or to supply content for future editions of the Update:
07384 835721

Email or phone Nick about work with members and about new work to embed Local Area Coordination in your area:
07407 789130

Facebook: @LACNetwork
Twitter: @LACNetworkUK
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