Last Wednesday, Demsoc Manchester hosted the first Greater Manchester Democracy Hub, with The Politics Project. Aiming to identify, map and connect everyone working in the Greater Manchester region to improve democracy in innovative ways, we organised an event for those people to meet, share their work and network. Whilst there is a lot of wonderful work happening in this area, it seems that no one is aware of all of it, and even those with similar plans and ambitions haven’t crossed paths. We wanted to rectify this, as we think that collaboration and communication is a great thing, and can prevent missed opportunities and unnecessary duplication of work.

At this first event, there was a really great atmosphere amongst those who took part, with lots of conversations happening before we even kicked off. After introducing the aims of the Democracy Hub, we invited everyone in attendance to take the floor, for up to three minutes, so they could give a brief insight into their work, talk about upcoming plans, introduce a subject they wanted to talk about more or just introduce themselves. We had contributions from almost everyone in attendance, which was fantastic and very interesting. These pitches enabled attendees to get a better idea of who they wanted to connect with and so afterward we allowed people to break away and delve deeper into ideas that had been raised. Simultaneously we had printed an enormous map of Greater Manchester to physically pinpoint where good work was taking place – we asked attendees to write on a post-it note and stick it to where they or another organisation or individual they knew of was based, giving us a better idea of the spread of this work around the area. We also asked people to write on flipchart paper their feedback about the event and how they would like to take the Hub forward and stay in touch. The idea is that this is a collaborative effort from the very beginning so we want to continue the project in a way that works for all those involved. If you have an opinion on shaping the GM Democracy Hub, you can share it by filling out this survey: https://bit.ly/2uokOqc.

The next Greater Manchester Democracy Hub event will be in January 2019, as we aim to meet every 6 months. We will release details closer to the time, but are looking for input and ideas to help us shape it. If you want to stay in touch, drop a quick email to beth@demsoc.org and we’ll keep you in the loop about plans for this event. Feel free to also get in touch with any questions or comments about what we’re doing.

We look forward to seeing you at the next event.

 

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