I started my ‘Now Page’ back in January 2016. Like many new year starts I didn't sustain it, but it helped me get back in the habit of blogging after a short break and to explore new ways of sharing my workings out. I’ve had a very busy ten months since then and my work has felt varied and changeable so it is interesting looking back to see how the same key themes dominate.
So what am I up to now?..
3...2...1... and launch...
It has been a week of new launches. Despite several years now of putting my work and thoughts 'out there' and of helping others do the same, I still find it incredibly hard. Each time I press the 'send' or 'publish' button my stomach still flips at the thought of what people will think and the risk I will fall flat on my face!
Making it 'Happen'
This week Nicola Waterworth and I launched HappenCIC.org . Two years ago we decided to collaborate and formed Empowering Projects, as a home for our shared workings. Two years on the same values, approach and purpose run through every vein of Happen but we are clearer about what we enjoy doing, our strengths and our offer. I like to think that my web development skills have come on a bit in that time too, building the Empowering Projects site was my first venture into web development. Since then I've added a number of sites to my belt - cosmic imperative, whalley range on wheels, women biking through and most recently DivaManc and PushPedalScoot - supported by a switch from Weebly to Wix.
Website development is a skill I'm yet to master but I find the process of curating information in the form of a website hugely enjoyable and satisfying - the visual, tactile and dynamic nature of a website appeals to me, I love their ability to turn words on a page into something tangible and living.
Getting 'Every child cycling'
This week also marked launch of PushPedalScoot website (the latest in my growing portfolio!) promoting BikeRight!Futures CIC cycle training package and ‘train the trainer’ courses for children aged 2-7 years. I’ve had the privilege of helping them develop this exciting offer.
It has long been a dream of mine to support every child in the UK to cycle. I'd love to see 'every child a cyclist' alongside 'every child a reader', a scientist, a mathematician... With this goal in sight I've been speaking to everyone I know across the cycling community to see if we can make this dream a reality. With each conversation the goal feels a step closer.
To help meet the local demand, whilst also testing out PushPedalScoot package, I've been having fun delivering sessions in local parks and schools. It is a wonderful feeling helping someone learn to ride a bike for the first time and with a few tips up your sleeve to help, it is amazing how quickly children can learn. With balance bikes, gone are the days of stabilisers and the sweat and tears often associated with learning to ride. In less than 40 minutes I've seen one child after another progress from no bike, to balance bike to independently pedalling. The joy is second to none!
Women shaping DevoManc
On Friday I helped launched 'DivaManc Switch-On: Connecting Women and their Ideas for a Brighter Devolution', the second in a run of #DivaManc events supporting more women to connect with and shape devolution in Greater Manchester. DivaManc came out of a conversation with a number of women around my kitchen table in the summer (see our website and blog for more information). Within two days of launching the first event it was fully booked and #DivaManc hit the Guardian headlines. The conversations I've subsequently had (with both women and men) has revealed widespread frustration with a 'stale, pale, male' devolution agenda and a real energy for change - a common wish to help shape a devolution that reflects and delivers for the full diversity of people across Greater Manchester. It is really exciting to see and to be a part of. I've watched the bookings come in on eventbrite over the weekend and with each one my optimism for a better future grows.
This book, dedicated 'To those whose voices need to be heard in dialogue' has definitely been my book of the week.
My mission is to help facilitate good collaboration and this book provides some very accessible and practical tips for doing so.