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Aug 18

Have your say at this year’s Convention

During the summer holiday season it’s always good to do a bit of ‘back to school’ planning and start preparing for whatever the autumn has in store.

For the Locality team, that means gearing up for our annual convention in November as preparation begins in earnest. The convention is the biggest event in the year for people working with local communities and brings together staff and trustees from our member organisations with people working in communities, public sector, funders and social investors. It’s part family reunion and celebration, part training and learning camp and part influencing the agenda together. If you haven’t experienced a Locality Convention, check out this blog with highlights from Locality ’16 in York.

This year, our convention is held in Manchester, at the Midland hotel. On their website, they say that they “have played host to Kings, Queens, Presidents, Prime Ministers and Rock Stars”, but never to the Locality Convention! The major political parties have now started using the hotel as their base when they hold their party conferences in Manchester, and the Tories will be there a few weeks before we are. It’s therefore a fitting location to discuss the political environment and how we can use our influence on the national agenda. The theme of our convention this year is ‘communities in control’- an agenda that is at the heart of what Locality and our members are about. We’re also delighted to be joined by colleagues from our international partner organisations who will share their learning with us from overseas. We have the usual set of great inspirational speakers, workshops, masterclasses and visits. But this year, we also have a few great opportunities to influence the wider agenda.

Firstly, we are being joined by Julia Unwin, who is chairing ‘Civil Society Futures’, a major independent commission on the future of civil society which is currently facilitating a series of national conversations about how civil society can maximise its role and impact in the future. Julia will chair our session What will a thriving community look like in 2025, and how should you prepare? It’s great that Julia is joining us and a brilliant opportunity for our members to input into the conversation.

Secondly, we are also going to hear from Matt Leach, the Chief Executive of Local Trust. They are currently funding a project on the future of community development, Empowered Communities 2020. I sit on the steering group for this project and we’re currently in listening mode gathering views from a wide range of people on how we can secure more powerful communities. There is obviously a strong link with the work of our members, and Matt will be talking us through the early findings and emerging conclusions from this work.

And finally, there are ample opportunities to influence policy during the convention. I have just taken over the Chair role of the Communities Partnership Board, which is made up of key national sector organisations and is an important way of getting our views heard by Ministers. We will be joined by civil servants and have invited new Government Ministers, and we hope to hear from them and feed in thoughts on their priorities in their new roles, Government plans for the sector, and the impact of Brexit. We also hope to be joined by the new Mayor of Greater Manchester. The new ‘Metro Mayors’ will be important new players on the political scene and we want to make sure our members help shape their agendas. Our own commission on the future of localism has also been collecting evidence and holding hearings on how the devolution and localism agenda can prioritise communities and neighbourhoods. We will be holding a workshop during convention to hear the emerging recommendations and test out with you what the final report will say.

This year we want to go further to put the inspirational work of our members at the heart of our campaigning. We have invited our members to pitch their idea to create change from the ground up. The winning idea, chosen by delegates, will then be taken forward into our national campaigning work.

There are several golden opportunities for convention delegates to get their voice heard and influence a number of important policy and research areas. We’re really keen to help make this as useful an experience as possible, so if you’ve got a great idea, have a read of our blog, submit your idea and we’ll be in touch.

There is only one month left till Locality Convention ’17! Book your place to the biggest community sector event of the year today!

View the full Locality Convention ’17 Programme and book your tickets


  1. David Huse

    Posted 18/08/17 at 3:38 pm  |  Permalink

    I am the in-coming Chair of Neighbourhood Watch UK. I start in role in November. I am working on some plans to modernise NW and I feel it needs to be more active in Community cohesion. Our major funder is the Home Office and I am doing a lot of work with them on our plans. Plus a number of key stakeholders some of whom I am sure Tony knows and is working with. Could I make contact with Tony directly. My e mail is below if someone can make contact with me on it. Thank you.

    • Bec Speidel

      Bec Speidel

      Posted 04/09/17 at 2:35 pm  |  Permalink

      Hi David, we can’t access your email from the comment, can you please email and your email will be forwarded. thanks!

  2. Martin Kelly

    Posted 04/09/17 at 2:27 pm  |  Permalink

    Hi. I received this email on the 22nd August but it looks like the conference took place on the 18th August

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