In our fantastic city of Birmingham we have a growing community of small voluntary or community organisations. They are all working hard in the community, ranging from advice and education groups to environmental and charitable groups. However, there is a lack of appropriate city-wide support for these organisations.
Birmingham Community Matters emerged from an event organised by Birmingham Partners.
The mission: to find ways of bringing face-to-face support to micro community groups in Birmingham.
Birmingham Community Matters is a peer-to-peer, one-to-one, face-to-face session where small community groups and voluntary organisations can meet ‘surgeons’ to ask for some advice, support or help with their organisation. Birmingham Community Matters Surgeries are based on the Social Media Surgery model*.
Groups can ask any question that related the running of their group or organisation, for example they can get help with funding, governance and structural help, help with managing volunteers, or with partnership working as well as help with health and safety and communication. The surgeons are people with some experience or sometimes formal qualifications to help answer these queries. Surgeon experience might be in one or all of these things and it might be formal through their organisation or work, or it might be informal through their experience.
No one is expected to know all the answers, the only expectation is that surgeons and patients have a conversation and try to come up with some solutions – this is about having someone new, with a different skills and experience to talk to.
Surgeons are not expected to help between surgeries, they are only required to give the time that the surgery is on for.
This is for everyone, even those with an idea for a community or voluntary project that they want to know how to start.
Downloadable info sheet: Factsheet!
*Social Media Surgeries were started in Birmingham in 2008. They are relaxed events, often in a cafe, where community organisations can get one-to-one help on how to use social media. We wanted to see if the model can be extended to all sorts of questions that a small community group might have, for example about constitutions, funding or supporting volunteers.
Our work is funded by Birmingham City Council, Awards for All, Birmingham Partners and Heart of England Community Foundation