What does it look like when Everyone Is Taking Part? This is the question Livability asked attendees at this year’s Greenbelt Festival – a Christian arts, faith and social justice conference, held over August’s bank holiday weekend.
As a long-term associate of the festival, Livability ran a series of workshops to help festival-goers explore ways to build community. Seminars in sharing stories and bringing everyone’s strengths together were held.
The Livability team also met with a range of people that were exploring ways to make their church more accessible and inclusive for disabled people.
Greenbelters had the opportunity to hear about the outcomes of the ‘Fullness of Life Together’ report. Presented by Corin Pilling and Anna Ruddick of Livability and created in partnership with The Church Urban Fund, this publication presents routes to take an assets-based approach to community engagement.
The resource challenges churches to look beyond an ‘us and them’ approach found in so much of community work and suggests an alternative model – one that plays to everyone’s strengths and works to positively transform local communities.
Corin Pilling, Assistant Director of Community Engagement and Communications for Livability, explains:
“We believe everyone brings strengths to their community, not just those with money, stable homes, qualifications or good jobs. And when a community truly learns to use everyone’s strengths, then new levels of transformation are possible.”
Special guest speakers priest Azariah France-Williams and life coach Andre Radmall examined the ways in which communities are framed and defined. By gathering and sharing individual experiences, Azariah and Andre demonstrated how the power of storytelling – sharing our individual experiences and stories – can bring about real change.
Livability’s Mat Ray also held a workshop that saw people exchanging stories and insights about their community and experience of neighbourliness.
Head of Church Partnerships Mat Ray said:
“Storytelling is an untapped tool for community development. Every person has a story to tell in their community – if we take the time to listen to each other, we can grow in understanding and deepen our relationships.”
Livability has significant expertise in principles of community engagement and supporting churches to be welcoming and inclusive for all.