Making a difference

When you are part of a small group of people trying to make something happen it’s impossible to point the finger at someone else without pointing it at yourself – equally it’s impossible to praise someone without taking some pride in yourself. I’m reflecting here on how we share success and failure.

gardenAt Woodhouse Community centre we have been discussing how best to structure the organisation that which “manages” the volunteers and helps create an environment of inclusion, creativity and equality. With Leeds TV I have been helping deliver a course called Independent Programme Makers aimed at empowering communities to participate in the new TV channel for Leeds, and in three local churches I have been discussing ways of getting people involved in online communications.

The most significant connection between all the projects I’ve been engaged with this week is that they have been about encouraging participation and a feeling of shared responsibility.

I’ve been struck by a few comments this week from people who quite understandably see the running of things as the responsibility of someone else – the government, the council, the boss etc. The media is responsible for telling us how the world is, the police are responsible for keeping the peace, the council are responsible for making sure the bins are emptied.

I’m not going to make any grand observations or say anything deep here other than to observe that there are some great people I know who are having a go at making change and not blaming anyone else for failure, they are seeing a need and are having a go at making a difference. They are learning as they go, making some mistakes and growing as a consequence.

Thanks to the volunteers who have: built a garden in Woodhouse, set up a community newsletter, preparing to make TV programmes about their community, organised a community photo safari, commissioned articles for a community blog, started a cinema club for a neighbourhood, opened a community cafe, running a talking newspaper for the visually impaired, set up a clothing exchange and so on and so on.



Published by Mark

Mark Waddington is a former BBC broadcaster and producer. He now works for the Diocese of Leeds as Urban Mission Officer. If you would like to get in touch email