The secret of all change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new. Socrates
We explore listening with presence and ways in which we can use our communication skills to enable people to explore and hopefully resolve their own mixed feelings.
We believe in working at the speed of trust, and recognise that the way we currently organise services and institutions can be a barrier to this.
We acknowledge that sometimes it’s the way that we work, or our view of citizens, that can get in the way, or keep people stuck.
We are citizens supporting other citizens.
The income from workshop facilitation enables Angela to be involved in rekindling democracy in her home town of Wigan, as a citizen alongside other citizens in her neighbourhood.
Angela has many passions. Family, friendship, Jimmy the motorhome, being in nature, citizen led action, social justice, a good cup of coffee and her home town of Wigan. Her ancestors have lived in Wigan since the early 1600s and her family is connected to Margaret Fell, a founder of the Religious Society of Friends. Known as the ‘Mother of Quakerism’, she is considered one of the valiant sixty early quakers and missionaries. Angela descends from a line of strong women and is guided by the wisdom of her Nan and Gran.
Angela calls herself a jack of all trades and master of none. A teacher, a playworker, a community worker, children’s rights and engagement manager, integrated childrens services manager, multi disciplinary team manager, Camerado and mindfulness teacher. A human being, hoping to be more human with other humans.
Angela is in favour of asset based community development. Testing out the ideas that Hilary Cottam describes in Radical Help, alongside families, within a community that she spent her early years, reinforced this. It was here that Angela was able to observe the system through the eyes of those who were being supported by it. She noticed that services seemed to be stuck in a pattern of rescuing and fixing and then leaving and sometimes blaming. The experience, along with the general direction of work with families led to Angela leaving her job without a job to go to and setting up RIPEN. Based on her insights Angela created Conversations for Change to enable helping professionals to shift from ‘doing to’ to ‘doing with’. She will be forever grateful to Bradford Council for believing in her, and awarding her her first contract.
Angela is a great believer in serving whilst walking backwards and seeks wherever possible to make herself redundant. She believes in social value, preferring to enact it as best she can rather than write a policy about it.
Angela is a passionate believer in ABCD (Asset Based Community Development) and was chuffed when Cormac Russell invited her to become an affiliate of Nurture Development.
For the last few years she has been cheering on a community in Netherton that she has been a friend of since the 1990’s. They decided to work in this way after realising that over twenty years of programmes and lots of money hadn’t made a difference to the local map of misery. In fact, they’d climbed the league.
You can read how Angela found ABCD here and how she sees the fit with systems and institutions. It’s not them and us. If it really is together, then some power growing needs to take place within neighbourhoods to level it up so that we can all have a seat at the table.
Angela managed the Life Programme whilst working for Wigan Council. The Life Programme was one of the ideas of Hilary Cottam OBE, the internationally acclaimed author of Radical Help. In the LIFE learning report (2014) Hilary described Angela as a strong local leader:
‘The manager is a particular asset to the programme – leading by example – and demonstrates the importance of strong local leadership.’
Angela felt that the safe base- the house, along with the way the team adopted the approach were hugely important to the success of the local work in Wigan. You can read more about that in the legacy report below or watch the Virtual Cuppa film below.
Angela is an active member of her local mutual aid group – Springfield, Beech Hill & Gidlow CommUnity. They came together during lockdown and exist to :
Discover and make visible the gifts, skills and treasure that we have within our community
Build connections with neighbours that focus on what’s strong rather than whats wrong
Create social spaces for people to share and exchange gifts, building and deepening friendships and enriching community life
Create social spaces for associations and groups to flourish and grow power so that they can act together for the benefit of the area
We have some longer term ideas linked to co-operatives and community wealth building.
Angela is a fellow of the Centre for Welfare Reform and involved with the Neighbourhood Democracy that they host. You can watch film and read more about her involvement in neighbourhood responses to Covid 19 below.
You can listen to Angela speak at a “Virtual Cuppa” hosted by Mutual Gain in July 2020. Angela shares stories and insights from her personal experience of the Wigan Deal & the Life Programme.
Angela wanted to a chat about her experience as a Wigan citizen who also happened to work for the Council for a sixth of her life between 2008-2016. She was there when the Wigan Deal was created. During this time Angela tested Hilary Cottam’s relational welfare ideas with families in a community where she spent her early years living and her teenage years getting up to mischief in.
Angela loves her town, and here she shares stories about what she loved, treasured and learned with the honesty and authenticity that can be found in the DNA of a Wiganer.