Alex’s Random Resilience Round-up – some links I’ve found to be quite interesting #4

I like to use this blog to share things I’ve come across that showcase “resilience” in action. I’m a great believer that this is more likely to inspire and encourage people to think differently about the things they are involved in in their community, or for public servants to change how they think about the services they deliver.

So in that spirit, here’s a handful of things I’ve come across that provoked thought with me. As always research, test and challenge yourselves, and feel free to leave your reflections in the comments:

On Our Radar – Dementia Diaries

My colleague Anna flagged this one with me this week and it really struck a chord for some reason. I thought I’d share this for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it seems to me a really nice example of creating a space that can foster bridging interactions. One could imagine that suffering from dementia is quite an isolating experience, but by getting people to record audio diaries around really basic day to day experiences, this allows people to bond around a common, shared experience but also at the same time create bridges between sufferers (both direct and carers) and non-sufferers.

The second thing I really like about this is how it creatively it unlocks a strength, or asset that is normally hidden. When one thinks of dementia, one thinks of the loss of memory or experiences. But this initiative flips that on its head and allows memories/experiences to be captured and shared both as an engagement tool, but also I would imagine as a therapeutic tool. I’d recommend checking this out!


I’ve referenced StreetBank in previous posts, but after a meeting this week I really felt the need to share the link again and some reflections.

So StreetBank is a platform to help residents share things from drills to language skills. Not only does Camden have the largest StreetBank population (1000 members), but it also has the most active!

So far it has helped save around 17,000kg from landfill and through allowing local people to share resources it has helped save our residents around £70k.

But that’s not what got me. It’s the personal stuff. One of our residents in Gospel Oak asked for help with her CV and got help within a day! How good is that! Also a group of lonely Kentish Towners who had nowhere to go at Christmas met up through the site and shared Christmas lunch.

I know I’m a resilience geek, but I’m really a big fan of this stuff as it’s such a great example of us helping to create the conditions for people to “hack” and shape this type of thing to reflect their own lives and help each other out.

Block Workout (Brixton)

This is a great one that came from my colleague Shannon. Quite simple really – sort of pop up gyms aimed at young people to keep them away from bad influences in their local area and promote self-esteem and ambition. Healthy body, healthy mind approaches are nothing new, but there are a couple of twists about this I really like. Block Workout is set up to turn any part of a street, park or open space into a gym, which is really cool and chimes with our principle about unlocking alternative community resources. The fundamental is that while there might not be a gym in the area, as long as you’ve got space to do something, that space can be adapted.

It also has a great story behind it in terms of the founder and how working out in prison gave him a route out of his troubles and a new identity – it in effect increased his resilience and by creating a project that creates a connection with young people (a bridging connection) he is able to share that strength with others. Great project!

Camden Town Men Shed

I can hardly believe I’ve not shared this example before! Maybe it is it’s disarming simplicity which means I take it for granted…

The “mens’ shed” movement is really taking off across the UK after originating (I think) in Australia where there are over 900 sheds where men can come together and work on practical projects, sharing tools and workbenches. In a place like London this is great given that many flats don’t have their own garden, let alone shed. A lot of people who are involved in this are older chaps who might be suffering from isolation. The Shed creates a space not only to meet others but do so in a postive and active way that taps into their strengths and experiences.

For those of you like me with parents who are now living on their own (and not close by), this project has such a strong resonance. Find your local one and support it!

And finally….

A nice story shared by my colleague David. Did you hear about the punk band PKN, representing Finland in the Eurovision song contest? So what I hear you cry! Did you know that the group all have Down’s Syndrome? I love this, and i’d love to know more about their story because it really challenges perceptions of what people are capable of – as I noted in the YouTube comments, these guys are not disabled, they’re musicians.

I wonder how important their networks and the resources they could tap into were in them getting so far…. enjoy

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