One of the things that formed part of the Fellowship Council's strategy was to experiment with some specialist networks, with the idea of stimulating events, projects and forums.... and these are being developed on a number of fronts through various working groups, the activities for which you can see on this website. There are also three particularly important working groups looking at ways that RSA and Fellows might develop individual projects together and through partnerships.
In addition to these ideas many Fellows are interested in possibly developing a BIG Fellowship project, and I was interested in getting some ideas for this. The idea of a Fellowship project has its roots in some of RSA's historical projects - one in particularly noteworthy was the RSA Trees project. From the 1750's through to the 1820's, the RSA encouraged tree planting across the UK. Well over 50 million trees were planted giving rise to many of the woods we enjoy in Britain today.
From conversations on this to date, Fellows seem less interested in a National 'campaign' .... and more interested in a project which:
- Would help Fellows do something constructive in their local communities e.g make something, connect the community, transform something.....
- Give Fellows the opportunity for *working* together on something which would help Fellows get connected with each other, with other local groups and community members.
- Raise the profile of the RSA nationally and internationally.
- Something which would have cohesion, momentum, support and includes lots of fun!
What novel ideas could we come up with? Could we borrow or adapt existing great ideas?
Here are three existing projects that I love that I think have some potential for scaling up through a Fellowship wide project:
1. Sit Stop
Sit Stop is an initiative launched in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames by an independent community group, originating from a group of RSA Fellows through the Coffee House Challenge.
At Sit Stop our purpose is to make life just a little bit easier for those in need of somewhere to sit down. These individuals may be elderly, pregnant, disabled or unwell; they may have tired feet or be laden down with shopping or they may just need somewhere to wait for a few minutes. It does not matter what drives the need. If they go into a shop or business displaying the SIT STOP logo then it is absolutely fine to ask for a seat or use one if it is available; they do not have to be a customer of the store or using the services provided there.
2. The Fruit Tree Giveaway
Some seriously amazing people in LA started a project called Fallen Fruit a few years ago. The project has mapped fruit trees which fall over onto common land. This has led to mapping walks, collecting 'public fruit' and community jam making sessions. They have started The Fruit Tree Giveaway - Over the course of two days, Fallen Fruit facilitated the distribution of 300 fruit trees to families who filled out adoption forms and promised to plant their tree in a public place or on the perimeter of their property.
3. Men's Sheds
A movement in Australia for establishing communal Men's Sheds. Their aims:
- To address the issues of men’s health (physical, emotional, social and spiritual well-being) in the community.
- To engage men of all ages, differently-abled, youth, veterans and other groups of men of the communities in regional, rural, remote and urban areas
- To support the social interaction of men in transitional periods (e.g. Redundancy, Bereavement, Retirement, Ill Health, Relocation, Divorce, Respite Care) in a non-exclusive, non-judgemental way;
- To share, disseminate and preserve the skills, abilities and interests that are relevant to the community.
What ideas do you have for a BIG Fellow's Project?
What sort of project would you be prepared to lead on?
How could the RSA and Fellowship Council help make this happen?
Would you be prepared to present you ideas?
Are you part of an organisation or community that would like to get involved?
What would be practical?
Could a larger solution that is proven to engage people be more time/effort effective that very tailored projects... or could be seen as an idea to kick start community connectivity?
Don't hold back! Tell us what you think!