Community Builders: Step into the Spotlight

Andrew Barrie 1st July 2020
As we emerge from our Covid deep freeze there is talk of a ‘new normal’. The past few months have reminded us of our collective, human power. So, is this the time for communities and their brave builders to step into the limelight?

Moving from a health to an economic crisis we can hear the cogs of government grinding as they struggle to be ever more inventive in how they can improve our lot. Interventionist strategies around finance and investment: Keynsian, Rooseveltan, National Investment Banks, QE, Austerity. Top down, blunt, political.

However, the sheer scale of the challenge ahead is forcing some to look in other directions. In particular, the concept of Social Capital is now getting some traction. Social capital is the effective functioning of social groups through interpersonal relationships, a shared sense of identity, a shared understanding, shared norms, shared values, trust, cooperation, and reciprocity (see OECD report for more). It’s what we get when work, share and collaborate together.

Communities are where social capital is created and nurtured. Always gathering around a commonality - place or movement or industry or idea. Always built on trust. Environments where we can discover, learn, share, create, smile, fail. 

A recent report to the Scottish Government proposed Community and Social Capital as one of the key pillars for a robust, resilient, wellbeing economy. However, it failed to explain how to build that pillar, meandering off to areas it was more comfortable with. 

There’s good reason why Governments struggle. They are top down, broad interventionists. Community building comes from a different place. Grassroots, based on passions and interests, fragile, sometimes fleeting, specific, inclusive. It’s a tough gig, dependent on the strength and determination of special individuals. It has nothing to do with tax, investment or monetary policy.  

One positive spike to emerge from Covid is a spate of communities. In Scotland there are some great initiatives such as The Scottish Tech Army that have emerged directly as a consequence, joining established Creative Entrepreneurs’ Club, Zebras Unite, Rookieoven, Converge Club, Freelancers in Scotland, FutureX, Digital4Good, Greyhope Stories and many more.

Behind every community are individuals. Alastair, Rachael, Daisy, Michael, Lissa, Briony, Bruce, Milosz, Fiona. Passionate people who want to make a difference. Supporting community builders is our focus at Community Lab. Providing free tools and support, connecting with other builders, building your member experience, connecting with tools you use and trust. Creating social capital.

If you want to start building your own community then start here.

If you want to get involved helping others then join our support community here.

For more on social capital, there is some create blogs and podcasts at The Reliants Project.

Tags #communitylab #scotland #community #socialcapital #higgins

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