SOME WELCOME VISITORS TO FEDERATION
It’s been a busy few days in Federation which of course is just how we like it. We were really pleased to welcome Hazel Blears and Bill Liao last Wednesday. It was a great opportunity for us to give them some insight into what we are trying to achieve. We were joined for lunch by Jim Cooke The Co-op Foundation and Andrew Clarke from Omidyar Network two of our key sponsors along with Matt Atkinson Chief Membership Officer of the Co-op Group.
But really the stars of the show were all our lovely Federation Friends. Damien Payton Federation resident and founder of Hive Manchester readily admitted that Bills work in CoderDojo was his inspiration to set up Hive. Hive events focus on fun and interest – but challenge anyone who’s up for it. Hive welcomes everyone, from beginners to confident coders looking to power up their skills. Bill and Damiens discussion largely focused around the need to scale and the role that industry needs to play. Emails were exchanged! So looking forward to seeing what comes out of that.
Next up was Nik Seth from Holm Care who shared his background in Dementia Care and Social Care with Hazel and Bill and explained what he is trying to achieve with his startup. In a nutshell he is hoping to disrupt the Homecare market helping people to find affordable care quickly and easily. Nik found it extremely useful“Billshared his vast experience and taught me that I’d be more successful promoting blog posts on how to help the elderly on Google, rather than just ads for the page. And it was super useful that Hazel has offered to connect me with the Salford Institute of Dementia and it’s network. We also discussed the challenges of finding good care for the elderly, and how long it takes people”.
We’re lucky that we’ve had The Social Mobility Foundation with us since almost the beginning of our Federation journey. Hazel is a trustee so she knew lots about it but Sam shared with Bill some of the many amazing stories of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds they have helped in their academic and professional journeys. While many of those they have supported in the past have gone into careers such as law Bill suggested that it was timely that the Foundation were in Federation to encourage more of their cohorts to get into tech. Especially given the scale of automation happening in the legal and other professions.
Michelle Brook from Demsoc spent some time explaining their work which centres around involving citizens more in the decision-making processes of governments and public sector bodies. They then experiment around this working with local and national government as well as European Institutions. According to Michelle everyone was more or less on the same page: “We all agreed about the importance of finding ways to merge online and offline engagement. We know that online has the potential to have significant reach across geographic regions and for those who are time constrained. Buy equally not everyone is online and we need to build integration between the two. Also we were agreed on the need for greater roles for citizens and civil society in making decisions about local places and spaces. Bill had some great ideas for this, including the use of AR and smart phones to help citizens visualise potential changes that would result from planning decisions in their local area”.
And finally a visit to Northcoders where Founder James Brooke talked through their business model and plans for growth in the North. It was a really useful visit and thanks again to Hazel and Bill for sharing their time.