Author Archives: jesssteele

Ba-Ba-Boom! Huzzah! Wow! OMG! Thank the Gods!

Sometimes when things work out well we can hardly believe it’s because of us. We want to feel the thunderbolt and praise Thor! I’m really pleased that tonight Hastings Pier was saved. This is how I felt when I knew: … Continue reading

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Self-renovating neighbourhoods

The old regeneration is dead, or should be. New regeneration will be driven by local people as agents of neighbourhood change, connected through solidarity networks, with the state and markets as enablers. It will focus on the fine grain of the lived neighbourhood, abjuring all silos and proactively weaving new fabrics of ownership and responsibility for the built and social environment. Inspired by stories of ‘accidental’ renewal arising from the clear self-interest of groups of local people, this paper introduces the self-renovating neighbourhood. It defines regeneration as the unleashing of trapped resources to nurture transformational local change, and makes a call to action to unlock people, land and buildings, and common bond equity capital to rebuild Britain from the ground up. Continue reading

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Ministerial list, 5 Sept 12

It’s been annoying me so much not to be able to get a full list of government ministers anywhere on the net that I decided to nick this one from Conservative Home as soon as I found it! Cabinet Office … Continue reading

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Scattering virtual ashes

I am at home in Hastings while the ashes of an old friend are being scattered from a bridge we helped to build. In memory of Pete Pope and in recompense for not being there today, I want to get … Continue reading

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Last day in Chicago

I can hardly believe it’s taken me so long to write this. I suppose it’s cos I didn’t want my trip to the US to be truly over. But until it’s finished I can’t write anything else so… That last … Continue reading

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Chicago 5: Generations of organizers

Friday 18th November 2011 Jim Field (left), Director of Organizing at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, says he’s from the Alinsky generation and gives me a copy of the 1972 Playboy interview. He says lots of the first wave … Continue reading

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Chicago 4: Grounded Theory

This is my public apology for not yet having emailed to thank all the wonderful people I met in Chicago (I’ve started it on the train home tonight). The last two days of my trip (18/19th Nov) involved even more … Continue reading

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Chicago 3: All kinds of walking

I’m back in the UK now but determined to finish this blog account of my trip to the US to explore community organising. I ran 3.5k on a treadmill today and all the way I was thinking about my much … Continue reading

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Chicago 2: Oodles of inspiration

Weds 16th November 2011 After a misleadingly warm day yesterday, now it’s sunny but cold like Chicago’s meant to be. Today’s dollops of inspiration come from Jeff Pinzino at National People’s Action (NPA) Joanna Brown, Logan Square Neighbourhood Association Malcolm … Continue reading

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Chicago 1: The South Side & Regina

Tues 15th November 2011 A beautiful sunny, warm day in ultra-civilised Chicago began with a wander in Grant Park. Everything takes just a bit longer than you expect because of waiting to cross the enormous roads. So then I hurried … Continue reading

Posted in Community Allowance, Community Organisers, US trip | 1 Comment

Detroit 3: The Funders

On my last day in Detroit I spent the morning exploring the regenerated riverfront. A lot of effort, good intentions and money has gone in and there are some lovely touches – the framed artworks, the bird-filled wetland area and … Continue reading

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Detroit 2: Grace Lee Boggs & the Angels

Sunday, 13th November 2011   I was so delighted to get a call on Sunday morning from Rich Feldman of the Boggs Centre for Nurturing Community Leadership. He had received last night’s email and could meet me today and hoped … Continue reading

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Detroit 1: Motown

10pm, Sat 12th November 2011 Never let taxi drivers influence your view of a place! Their livelihood depends on scaring you out of your wits. I already knew Detroit was a strange place but I was determined to give it … Continue reading

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NYC 3: Training Day

Friday 11th November 2011, Veterans’ Day   Up early to make my way to East Harlem where the Center for Neighborhood Leadership/Public Allies training would take place at the sparkly new Hunter School of Social Work building. The bright white … Continue reading

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NYC 2 – Occupied Wall Street, Good Old Lower East Side & University Settlement

On Thursday I went to see whether the original #Occupy is as well organised as Occupy London Stock Exchange, which I visited just before coming away on this US trip. I was much reassured by the similarities. Apart from the … Continue reading

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New York City 1: Queens Community House

[From La Guardia airport on the way to Detroit, 12 Nov 2011] I have spent the last 4 days visiting a community organizing development programme in New York City which has striking similarities to our emerging home-grown Community Organisers programme … Continue reading

Posted in Community Organisers, Locality, US trip | 2 Comments

Transparency

In general the Community Organisers team was happy with last night’s TV coverage. This was no thanks to Newsnight, but all credit to the community organisers themselves, to Stephen Kearney and the Re:generate team, to my excellent team at Locality … Continue reading

Posted in Community Organisers | 8 Comments

Feeling weird about the media

What a strange 7 days… I feel like I’ve been through a shrapnel whirlwind and there are a dozen fragments lodged in my brain, any of which could either strike gold or explode any time. One thread runs through it … Continue reading

Posted in Community Organisers | 8 Comments

Hosting Community Organisers

We’re at a very exciting point in the Community Organisers programme. In a few days time I’ll be joining the first 47 organisers at Trafford Hall for their intensive introductory training. They have been recruited by the 11 Kickstarter hosts … Continue reading

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Civil service lessons

Various prompts have got me remembering my conclusions after five months on secondment to the civil service in 2009. @Puffles2010 at http://adragonsbestfriend.wordpress.com/2011/08/15/a-challenge-for-the-civil-service-and-large-institutions-alike/ is one of the sparks to make me trawl my archive for the memories. The experience of trying to run … Continue reading

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