What are we talking about at Link4Growth events?

This blog site has been created as a platform to show the kinds of conversations and topics that are discussed at Link4Growth events. #Link4Growth is not a business networking organisation, it is a community building organisation. So what’s the difference?

Link4Growth brings people together so that we can meet, talk, listen, learn and connect. It is a place where people people share ideas, knowledge, enthusiasm, experience and their expertise. Today in Hemel Hempstead at the coffee event, I likened the malaise which has befallen our country like a brain with a severe stroke. The synapses and communication links between key parts of our communities broken or weakened to such an extent that our efforts to function are hampered and achievements badly curtailed.

But all is not lost… these communication channels can be rekindled and awakened, all it needs is conversations and once we begin to do this the juice really does start to flow again. Suddenly with new connections, new opportunities present themselves, enthusiasm, hope and optimism starts to re-emerge, a new positivity comes alive and what seemed impossible becomes possible!

In Redcar earlier in the month at the Link4Breakfast launch there were three ladies from different parts of the community. One was working on bringing Time banking to the community, another had already begun a successful food bank and the 3rd helps with volunteers in the voluntary sector. What was most revealing is that none of them knew about each other… and as each in turn explained what they did the comprehension of why Link4Growth is so important became apparent. Community organisations, charities and even small businesses are so busy dealing with their own world as islands they rarely lift their heads above the parapet to see what else is going on… and even if they did? Where would they look?

Link4Growth provides a platform, a framework, an umbrella if you like that enables any organisation, person, business to come together at regular intervals in the community, connect and find out what else is going on? … where else could you do that? … and… do you know what? … it is amazing how many of these organisations could collaborate, work together and save time and money… it is huge!!

There are so many great initiatives out there too… learned of two today at Hemel… one for retired men who want to still help out in the community… they have a shed that they work out of and help kids fix punctures, fix things, show people how to do things using their experience… what an awesome idea? ... keeps them active and they are providing a real value for society with their experience… also +Derek Armson 's mother 80 years old, still does a days bookkeeping a week and has started a club for her generation to get out and do things… got 150 members!! … but who knows about these great initiatives?

It’s like the wonderful but small charities we have, Watford has 200 of them, now we all know about the Peace Hospice with professional fund raisers, but the small charities almost dislike them because they take so much from the ‘giving pot’ that there is precious little left for them… many of these survive on £20-£30k per annum and every penny is spent on the services and good work they do… no money left for marketing or promotion and so they remain the best kept secrets in our society. Unsung heroes who often work 20-30 hours or more on their passion with scant reward and little recognition… this must change!

Link4Growth is passionate about removing the ‘Cloak of Invisibility’ that engulfs these amazing charities and people and we are doing that in the Google+ platform… We have set up 70 districts right across the UK… inside each District cities, towns and villages can have their own communities, and people who live and work there can join them… in time these communities will be the News feed for the community, replacing newspapers as people can report / share news that is actually happening in the community, not what sells advertising space! … couple this with the capability to provide local community TV … things look very exciting indeed!!

I learned also today that there are as many people in the 50+ age group that are out of work as there are in the 16-24 age group. On the one hand we have the young, with ideas, energy, enthusiasm and desire and then we have the mature people, with experience, connections and the desire to give back… what on earth are we doing here? … lets bring them together… check out #L4GYouth with +Alex Murray … it is a sacrilege to squander such resources is it not?

I heard a story that summarises our need to rebuild community and get a sense of ourselves the other day… a 93 year old woman (fit in mind, body and soul) asked a much younger lady what was in her satchel… the other lady said, leaflets… i just drop them around the local neighbourhood… the older lady replied… I could do that too! … the younger lady replied, I am sure that would be fine, just ask the man over there… to which the older women responded… does that mean I would be useful?

A sobering thought… In 30 years or so… those of us in middle age will be approaching old age… think about all you know and the experiences you have had… you too will be on the scrap heap, all your knowledge and years of experience wasted, unless we change something… so let us change it now!


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