How Local Motion is bringing Enfield together

Paul Everitt, co-ordinator of Local Motion Enfield, on the movement is working to bridge the borough’s divide

A recent race, equity and employment forum hosted by Local Motion (credit Francis Sealey)
A recent race, equity and employment forum hosted by Local Motion (credit Francis Sealey)

The London borough of Enfield is a place of contradictions. It contains both some of the wealthiest and the poorest parts of the UK, creating an east-west divide which lays bare inequality and division.

Added to this, the continuing squeeze on funding to local government and for local services, against a backdrop of long-established regional differences, means voluntary and community services (VCS) groups have increasingly been left to pick up the pieces.

Communities and community organisations are put into competition with each other to secure resources, creating an environment where trust is in short supply. This leads to a culture of working in silos which further exacerbates the problems, creating more division and leaving the community confused about how things work, how to get involved, and how to resolve the challenges they face.

This isn’t just an Enfield problem. It’s replicated in communities across the UK. It’s out of this problem that Local Motion was born.

Five years ago, six funding bodies – City Bridge Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Lankelly Chase, Lloyds Bank Foundation, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and The Tudor Trust – came together to search for better ways to tackle the challenges our communities face.

They decided to work in six places to build a social, economic and environmental justice movement, with communities at its centre. The place they chose in the south-east was Enfield, along with communities in Carmarthen, Lincoln, Oldham, Middlesbrough and Torbay. The movement seeks to understand local strengths and to challenge the power structures and hierarchies that hold the community back. It is about bringing people, organisations and institutions together, so that communities in these six places can benefit from joined-up thinking, pooled resources and long-term collaboration and planning with UK funders.

In 2021, VCS organisations in Enfield were invited to join the movement and, in January 2022, the organisations who answered the call came together and formed Local Motion Enfield. Those organisations are Age UK Enfield, Citizens Advice Enfield, Combining Opinions to Generate Solutions (Cogs), Enfield Climate Action Forum, Enfield LGBT Network, Enfield Racial Equality Council, Enfield Women’s Centre, Mind in Enfield and The Legacy Foundation.

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Together, these organisations chose the east-west attainment gap, mental health and social isolation as the starting points to explore the deep-rooted problems that the community faces and the systems that need to change.

Over the past six months, we have worked with Northside Youth and Community Connexions (NYCC) in Edmonton Green on a project to promote greater collaboration among community organisations; with Chickenshed’s ‘Space Between Us’ programme and the Enfield Dementia Network to explore how dementia is affecting our community; with Edmonton Community Partnership and London Emek Theatre to explore the experiences of migrant communities; with 21K Digital Media to look at intergenerational relationships and a forum on knife crime.

The Legacy Foundation has led work exploring black men’s mental health, Enfield Climate Action Forum is leading a series of community conversations, Citizen’s Advice Enfield is exploring how the cost-of-living crisis and the housing crisis are affecting our community, and Mind is leading a project to create a network of people with lived experience of mental ill health to inform the delivery of better services.

The founding funders have now provided the resources for Local Motion Enfield to continue its work over the next eight years.

What is the change we want to see? Strong cross-sector relationships that tackle the root causes of poverty and inequality; a place that works better for everyone, but especially for those experiencing the most disadvantage; and a place where communities have more power over their own destinies and contribute as equal partners at the table, in a culture of co-production and collaboration where people’s voices are heard.

For more information and to get in touch with Paul:
[email protected]
Visit localmotion.org.uk

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