Ideas of investing in communities or resilience can often sound abstract, particularly when written in a council strategy document. But working alongside Communities Driving Change (CDC), an initiative pioneered by Tower Hamlets Council which supports residents to take action on their own health and wellbeing, we’ve seen this concept put into practice. This includes lots of up-close examples of what this investment can look like: the gradual process of building relationships, growing people’s confidence or skills and connecting different people and partners together.
Over the last two and half years, we’ve been supporting two of the organisations that have been delivering CDC: The Young Foundation and MyTimeActive. Specifically around developing their community engagement expertise alongside design and systems thinking as they look to grow and increase their impact.
Recently, we’ve had the pleasure of supporting The Young Foundation and the wider CDC programme through a learning approach as they support a community-led response to the COVID crisis and begin to navigate recovery.
Community resilience in practice
We’ve seen a host of resident-led COVID initiatives across Tower Hamlets. These include an emergency food response, volunteers distributing home learning kits for young people, medicine deliveries in collaboration with local GP surgeries and bike shops, and cooking classes over Zoom. All of which saw CDC play a quiet but crucial supporting role behind the scenes.