What is the vision of The Cambridge Commons? What are our values and how will we apply them? How can we best work together to achieve these goals?These were among the questions a group of regular volunteers asked ourselves recently during a workshop at Allia’s Future Business Centre.
We began by exploring what we wanted from the workshop and the personal journey that had led each of us to take part in The Cambridge Commons. This exercise shed light on a wealth of experience among us, plenty of it in activism and political campaigning.
We then spent some time trying to understand our core values. We came up with words like trust, authenticity, compassion, solidarity, inclusion and fun.
Next up was the really thorny issue of our purpose.
We approached this using an exercise I’d learnt from various workshops I’d taken part in as a fellow on the Clore Leadership Programme, perhaps most notably a session run by Gaylene Gould. This session on goal setting encourages you to think about your ideal outcome without constraint.
We spent about ten minutes jotting down words or phrases on sticky notes to describe our ideal vision for Cambridge and for The Cambridge Commons. We then shared these on a flip chart and grouped them into categories, so as to spot the synergies between them.
Finally we used these words and phrases to produce pithy descriptions of our vision for Cambridge and our mission at The Cambridge Commons. Choice of words and emphasis notwithstanding, there was an incredible commonality among all the statements.
One of my favourites said: “Our vision for Cambridge is of a city that values all its residents equally and provides decent jobs, homes and education.”
I’m excited by the work we did. Now begins the hard bit of editing and synthesising the results! Much to do, involving all our volunteers.
If you would are interested in making Cambridge a fair and supportive place to live for all, please signal your interest on the contact page or do send me a message on Twitter @georgeweyman. Or you could come along to one of our cafe style discussion groups in the ‘Our Cambridge‘ series – the next is 1 October with Henry Tam.