We began working with Southend-on-Sea Borough Council in 2009 helping to develop the council’s vision of building the capacity of local people to skilfully intervene in difficult conversations on local hot topics. We trained over 130 staff, volunteers and community activists in dialogue skills, providing them with a range of tools and techniques for understanding and intervening in difficult conversations.
We also provided intensive training and ongoing mentoring to 30 ‘champions’ who together have delivered a range of projects across the city, from facilitating neighbourhood groups, to supporting the integration of minority communities, to directly intervening in conflicts between different groups. This network of organisations and community activists are now self – sustaining; providing a great resource for the area. They regularly deliver events including an annual conference focusing on good relations.
‘The training has proved to be invaluable…The lasting legacy of this has been the creation of a number of community events and projects originating from those trained, as well as a dynamic and cross cutting network which meets on a regular basis, and continues to be positively active in generating creative and responsive solutions to local community challenges.’