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Nov 24

Locality Convention ‘17: the edited highlights


The Locality Convention is over for another year – and wow what an amazing two days!

Thanks so much to the 550 + people who took part in Locality Convention ’17 in Manchester. Our Annual Convention is the highlight of our social calendar and the community sector event of the year. It means so much that our members, colleagues and friends from across the community sector take the time to attend and help make it such a fun, energetic and inspiring two days.

From getting our members’ voices heard and accessing funding, to learning from communities across the world, Locality Convention ’17 was packed full of networking opportunities, practical workshops, visits to amazing Manchester community organisations and enterprises, inspiring talks and more – we have been told it was the best year yet!

Let’s jump straight to some of our Convention highlights…


Day 1

Locality Convention ‘17 kicked off on 14 November at The Midland Hotel in the centre of Manchester, a venue that has played host to an array of Kings, Queens, Presidents, Prime Ministers and stars over the years.

Our Chief Executive, Tony Armstrong, kicked off the Convention by talking about the power of communties to transform lives, particularly through our “network of bloody minded battlers”. He then went on to launch our Powerful Communities, Strong Economies report, which provides a framework that local authorities can use to commission for economic resilience and community organisations can use to evidence their local economic impact.

Our audience then joined us in celebrating what the power of community really means. Blink and you might miss yourself – be sure to zoom in on our inspiring delegates.

Our keynote speaker Melissa Aase, Executive Director at University Settlement came all the way from New York to talk about her experiences of community building, organising and development in the US and the importance of resilience, resistance and hope – building a stronger capacity to vote, speak with authenticity and act against hate.

We also heard from the amazing Annoushka Deighton, Board member at Stretford Public Hall who talked about their inspiring community story.

It was an inspiring start to the day and the excitement was so contagious that our tweeting delegates got #Locality17 trending on Twitter.

In the afternoon, our delegates were able to get into the heart of community action with inspiring visits to some of the best community-led projects in Manchester!

Thank you so much to The Broughton Trust and the Environment Agency, Stretford Public Hall, Withington Baths and Leisure Centre, Salford Lads’ Club and Back on Track for showing us the incredible work you do. Read a little bit about the visits here.

Delegates also took part in an interactive schedule of expert-led sessions, ranging from what works for community health and wellbeing, funding for start-ups and established organisations, business planning in a nutshell, neighbourhood planning and all its challenges and putting communities back in control.

See what delegates shared on Twitter during Locality Convention ’17  by following the hashtag #Locality17.

In the afternoon, we asked ‘What will a thriving community look like in 2025, and how should you prepare?’.

The lively discussion looked at what the future holds for communities and how the community sector should get ready for what’s coming next. We heard from Matt Leach, CEO of Local Trust who shared the Empowered2020s research, Julia Unwin, lead of the Civil Society Futures Enquiry, Sarah Gorman, CEO of community project Edberts House and Maxine Ennis, CEO of community-led charity, Rotunda.

The final session opened up lots of interesting conversations which spilled into our Networking and Fringe sessions and exciting ‘A history of community business’ evening reception and book launch with Power to Change and Steve Wyler, former Locality CEO.

There was a book signing, plenty of activities, a play, people dressing up and an exciting announcement

Day 2

The following morning we were joined in the main auditorium by Steve Elias, host of BBC 2 ‘Our Dancing Town’ and co-founder of The Costume Emporium CIC. This high energy start to day two looked at interactive ways of taking on community engagement through performing arts. Picture a room with over 500 people dancing to ‘Hey Big Spender’.

Then delegates attended more exciting workshops and visits before our final Dragon’s Den style closing plenary. Locality members had their say and pitched ideas to create change from the ground up to our panel of experts; Donna Hall, CEO at Wigan Council; Counsellor Asher Craig, Bristol City Council and Joanna Holmes, Barton Hill Settlement.

We heard from Bill Graham from New Wortley Community Centre, Jez Monk-Hawkswort from Black Country Make CIC and Dan and Tan from Heart of Hastings Community Land Trust.

The panel gave their feedback and the audience voted for the idea they wanted us to take forwards in our national campaigning work.

The winner of the Locality Convention ’17 photo competition is…

It’s a beautifully emotive photo that really captures what Convention and community are all about!

Last, but certianly not least, let’s not forget that…

Thank you

So that’s it, two incredible days of innovation condensed into our highlights of Locality Convention ’17! We want to thank each and every one of you who attended, networked, asked questions, tweeted and shared pictures and stories.

Relive the two days by looking a look at the event photos here.

Thanks to our Locality Convention ’17 sponsors

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