I believe in the power of community so the opportunity to spend two days with over 500 people who have a similar mindset was too good to miss.
I left Bristol feeling revitalised, motivated, more confident and more realistic, and I definitely still believe in the power of community! 
- Robert Bruce, CEO, Dorothy Parkes Centre

Locality Convention ’18 provides a unique opportunity to take time out from the hustle and bustle of a working day to listen, learn, network and share experiences with peers. This was my second convention and I was keen to get the most out of this year’s opportunity, carefully planning which workshops I attended.

Workshops

Delegates select which sessions they want to attend and at what times. I found this helpful as I was able to select sessions which were most relevant for me and my organisation. This year I attended three workshops:

1.    Income generation for small organisations

A relatively small group of about 30 delegates listened to John from Natwest and David from Locality about the various ways we can generate income. There were ways I was familiar with but there were also some new ways which I will explore. I found the talk from Sarah about the short pocket guides produced by Power to Change really helpful and I made the effort to pick up some free copies of the guides which cover cafes and room hire.

2.    Lighting the way

This workshop was a detailed insight to Locality’s new resilience health check tool – Lighthouse. This was, for me, more of a reassuring session as I have begun to use the tool so I was encouraged to hear that I am using it correctly but also learnt a few tips on how to maximise the use of the tool. We were encouraged to work in smaller groups before feeding back to the group. By working this way I made a good contact who I will liaise with when back in the office.

3.    Start measuring your economic impact

This was the morning workshop on Day Two and this was a bit more thought-provoking. The group was split into smaller groups and were given seven characteristics to consider and discuss before feeding back to the group. The group was quite diverse with delegates from different areas and different sectors so the feedback was really interesting. There was a lot more to consider in this workshop and more research will need to be done before I make a formal plan for my organisation.

Guest Speakers

There were a great variety of guest speakers at the two plenaries I attended. It was a real coup for Locality this year, for the first time, to have the Communities Secretary present, although slightly disappointed he wasn’t available for Q&As.

I was really inspired by a number of the speakers, particularly the Mayor of Bristol who was encouraging and refreshing in the way he spoke about communities and making change happen.

A new addition to the opening plenary was the online facility to view rolling questions coming in from the audience. This was really interesting as you could capture the audience mindset and it did make you think in a different way.

I was motivated by Stella Duffy OBE and the way she has overcome many personal and professional challenges. Her passion and enthusiasm was off the scale and I have never seen a guest speaker perform the splits live on stage before!

I was inspired and quite moved by Mariam Delogu and the way she spoke about the challenges and abuse she had encountered whilst trying to make a positive impact. Miriam demonstrated incredible resilience and the standing ovation she received was truly deserved.

Mingle, mingle, mingle

A special mention to Tony Armstrong, CEO of Locality, who ended the opening plenary by stressing the importance of networking, talking, sharing and learning with new people and encouraged us all to ‘mingle, mingle, mingle’.

As somebody who doesn’t always find networking so straightforward this made me feel more relaxed and I used this throughout the convention, speaking to strangers and making new contacts.

Overall, it was a positive experience and I definitely got a lot more out of this convention than I did last year. I feel that it was balanced and pitched at the right level and I have picked up new thoughts and ideas which I can take back to my organisation. I left Bristol feeling revitalised, motivated, more confident and more realistic, and I definitely still believe in the power of community!

Robert Bruce
Chief Executive Officer
Dorothy Parkes Centre