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Multiplier Residential

Investing in communities: making the space for change

Posted by The Cares Family on 6th June 2023

Please note: this post is 13 months old and The Cares Family is no longer operational. This post is shared for information only

Last month, we spent three days with our Multiplier 2023 cohort of local leaders and change-makers who are based across the UK – from Margate to Middlesborough, Portsmouth to Paisley, this group share a community-centred approach to taking action and bringing people together in their local places. But taking time out is not easy for local leaders; many are feeling the squeeze on their time as they juggle the numerous activities involved in supporting their communities in these challenging times.

“I loved being surrounded by such incredible people.”

Since 2021, The Multiplier has supported thirty-seven local people to grow their confidence, capacity and capabilities and deepen the impact in their communities. One thing that we’ve consistently heard local change-makers say is how important time for connection and space to think is.

The Multiplier offers:

  • Monthly gatherings in key areas such as community building, fundraising, storytelling and navigating systems
  • A residential
  • One-to-one coaching
  • A peer-support community with other change-makers
  • An alumni network
  • An unrestricted grant
Multiplier Residential

Communities are facing huge challenges and taking time out to reflect has becomes a luxury for many people. The Multiplier residential offered a space for rest and for local leaders to think deeply and connect with people from different backgrounds to explore shared goals, celebrate difference and build networks that stretch beyond our immediate local communities.

During the residential we explored our role in the community, what we want to change and what we might let go of to get there. We learnt how local people see their community leadership, how community leaders are centring the voices of local people and leading from the sidelines and how we tell the story of the places we love. We listened and really heard each other in a space that gave permission to rest and have fun, but also for new ideas to germinate.

‘’An enjoyable, change of pace and time away from the workplace to explore and make new connections whilst learning from others’’

Multiplier Residential

Enabling Community Power

In March 2023, we wrote that the Multiplier 2023 application process gave us hope. We saw hundreds of local people and projects responding to the challenges in their community and building connection.

Local people continue to do extraordinary things every day and there is now a growing recognition that national challenges can be solved at a local level, but to realise this potential we need to invest in and enable community change-makers.

The residential offered a glimmer of a future where joy, rest, and space to think isn’t just seen as an indulgence for community-leaders, but instead, a necessity where opportunities to connect, take stock and look ahead are much more common. We know that the answer is in the community, but we know now more than ever that communities need investing in to grow and harness their collective power.

Multiplier Residential

“I loved the opportunity to just have the headspace to think about myself as a leader. The pace of the residential was perfect.”

Key take-aways for community change-makers

If you are one of the brilliant local change-makers working across the UK, here’s some things to think about when you make space for your wellbeing and reflection:

  • Collaboration and relationships - reach out and be open to possibilities. Carve out space to connect across sectors, regions and experiences to learn and collaborate.
  • Make space for joy and imagination – as much as direct action is essential in social change, you can’t create what you can’t imagine. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation have written about the growing field of Collective Imagination for imagining a different future.
  • Change your environment – whether it’s your local park, another community space or a new nature spot, changing up your space can ignite new ways of thinking and seeing.

Key take aways for those who support community change-makers

If you support, fund, champion, commission local change-makers across the UK, here’s some learnings we had at The Cares Family around how best to enable reflective spaces:

  • Investment – community leaders need to be invested in. Funding is crucial to enable the space for change-makers to reflect and for projects to run and evolve over the long-term.
  • Inclusivity – listen to what communities are saying about their local areas and personal experiences. Create opportunities for change-makers to flourish by creating space for disrupting top-down decision making.
  • Make sure it’s valuable – it's no use getting everyone to list out all the gaps and barriers in their local communities...this happens all the time. Think deeply about what can be most useful for our change-makers and what can we ask that helps them identify the most pressing issues and solutions they want to develop either personally or for their organisations. 
Multiplier Residential