Quotes & Case Study

“Civil society is the cradle of social innovation. Votes for women. Civil rights. LGBT rights. The social work and nursing professions. These have all emerged as a result of small groups of citizens pushing forward unpopular ideas and changing the way the world works. 

Plymouth POP is creating a context for local people to make the City everything it can be. That context is made up of connection, trust and belonging. It is helped along by small amounts of money, the oil in the cogs of social change. 

Most of those involved in Street to Scale in Plymouth are not part of any formal organisation. People, young and old, are coming forward to do their bit. 

  • Getting art from the people for the people by posting it around the City 
  • Bringing back wildlife by putting up bird boxes and collecting data on which species move in 
  • Saving the local cinema 
  • Coming together after the pandemic to have some fun! 

These are among the dozens of activities sponsored by Plymouth Street to Scalers thanks to POP. They may or may not change the world. But they are meaningful to local people. Plus, there is good reliable data on POP’s impact on: 

  • Connection: with citizens feeling they are stronger together 
  • Trust: people recognising the value POP places in community by investing in social change 
  • Belonging: With participants understanding this is my neighbourhood and I can do something with my neighbours to make it better.” 

Michael Little, Ratio (Street-to-Scale) 

“We are proud to be working alongside the POP to enable a new and innovative way of funding that fosters deep levels of collaboration and transparency. Since starting Accountable we have helped over 200 groups, but POP has utilised the service in a way that has the potential to shift relationships, delivery of services, and the entire civic ecosystem locally in very exciting ways.” 

Esther Foreman, CEO of The Social Change Agency

Case study 

“Plymouth is a dispersal city for asylum seekers, and we have between 350 to 400 asylum seekers at any one time. Their needs are bigger than the existing provision because we have ongoing gaps. Some of these gaps will never be covered unless there is an effective collaboration between stakeholder organisations. In other words, there is plenty around to be done and for each organisation to keep busy, show that impact and meet their stats. The question remains, why is this not happening then? If this is left to organisations themselves to be sorted out, it will not happen because there all guilty of the same thing, protect my people, protect my territory or patch. Since the race for funding is one of the key problems, then funders have a key role to play. Perhaps each region and each city would be different. But for Plymouth currently, unless funders find a way to convince their grantees to apply and show how they are working collaboratively and effectively with other stakeholders, nothing will change. 

An example to put this into context is the provision of employment opportunities for refugees and BAMEs. The problem is not the lack of employment support opportunities or skills building support work in the city, or the lack of mentors or the lack of resources. The roots cause of the problem is that those with the responsibility (via funding) to support people have been working to hit targets rather than what people really need. Requiring trained doctors and engineers to keep searching for unskilled jobs for months without considering a placement with relevant companies etc. causes frustration on all counts. There is a fear of challenging this support and there is a double incentive to not refer to other projects – its better to hit your own targets than to help others AND if a service is not delivering effectively, a referral exposes this.  

But the funder will be told that X number of people have been supported with employment queries and the argument is that because of the language barrier, they cannot effectively secure jobs. So rather than working solely with the funded project, if funders worked with the ‘system’ of support they would gain a much greater understanding of how it was working and increase the natural accountability between projects.”  

David Feindouno, Plymouth Hope

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