On 25th September 2015 the Safer Communities CIC’s first Conference was held at Headquarters. Designed to get people thinking more ‘community’, the conference concentrated on the Life Skills Centre to be built at Stafford Fire Station.
Amongst those attending were the CIC Delivery and Management Board, Prevent and Business Support Managers, the Chief Fire Officer and Principal Officers, Chair and Vice-Chair of the Fire Authority and the Life Skills Centre Project Team. Representatives from the MOD, VAST, County Council, Entrust, the Prince’s Trust and Groundwork also came to hear from the speakers and take the opportunity to network with community-minded colleagues.
Entrepreneur and Life Peer Lord Andrew Mawson was the first speaker. He wrote the best-selling book ‘The Social Entrepreneur – Making Communities Work’. He spoke from his own experiences of looking for opportunities in the community rather than challenges.
Chris Shaw, Mental Health Advocate and Consultant Adviser to Local Authority believes that we should not do to others what they can do for themselves, lest we potentially isolate, disempower and infantilize people and that communities peopled by self-advocating and interdependent folks sharing their assets is a realistic aspiration. He spoke to the conference about asking communities what their strengths are rather than focusing on the weaknesses.
These similar messages were the mainstay for the conference. For those working on the Life Skills Centre, it is about vision and designing the concept of the new facility – looking at the positives rather than the negatives which is a message for us all.
The event was rounded off with a networking lunch that sparked some interesting discussions with partners on how they can work together, to make the Life Skills Centre stand out and gain a valued position within our community.