Why you can’t afford to miss Stronger Things 2023
Stronger Ideas. Stronger Policy. Stronger Practice. Stronger Things 2023 will be a day to remember packed full of inspiring sessions and insights from people making waves in the worlds of politics, healthcare and democratic engagement. Summer Simpson sets out five reasons you won’t want to miss it.
We’re not short of headlines about the ‘existential crisis’ facing local government and the wider public sector in Backlog Britain.
Rising demand and workforce shortfalls are pushing services to the brink, and delivering under immense pressure has become the norm. But the cost of this unsustainable status quo makes innovative and radical change more necessary than ever.
Against this backdrop, we’ve seen a shift within and beyond our network: from debating the why to applying the how of community power, and there’s mounting evidence that this approach has the potential to answer some of our deepest and most persistent challenges.
Across more stages than ever, Stronger Things will respond to this changing landscape, help build momentum behind the community power movement and provide ideas to transform the way you work.
Not convinced yet? Here are five reasons Stronger Things 2023 might just be the most valuable eight hours of your year.
1. Get to grips with the nuts and bolts of doing community power
“Great practical tips, inspirational speakers, good breakout sessions and some tangible ideas to take back to the workplace.”ST22 Participant
This year Stronger Things is subtitled ‘making it happen’ and the clue really is in the name. Whether you’re just beginning your community power journey or you’re a veteran of the movement, you’ll find fresh insights to help you in your role.
Head to a stage of your choice to dive into the practicalities of putting communities in the driving seat. Join Camden Council’s Leader Georgia Gould to find out how to bring residents into decision-making processes, hear from GPs Dr Andy Knox and Dr William Bird on communities tackling health inequalities or head to our Stronger Conversations stage for a session on doing leadership differently.
2. Take a look at the national picture
“[I most enjoyed] the ability of the speakers to challenge the status quo, and a room full of people up for responding to that challenge.”ST22 Participant
The winds of change are blowing all the way to Westminster and national decision makers are beginning to take an interest in the community power agenda being pioneered in our places. This shift is most clear in Labour’s promise of a Take Back Control Bill which provides the basis for the biggest ever transfer of power away from central government, giving local people more say over the decisions that shape their communities.
Lisa Nandy MP – the person charged with developing the Bill – will take to the main stage for our closing keynote. And you’ll have opportunities to hear from other leading thinkers and doers shaping the national picture throughout the day, including Alex Norris MP and Kim Leadbeater MP.
3. Get involved in the big debates
“Simply Go! Take the opportunity to have your thinking stretched”ST21 Participant
What might have seemed like distant problems in the not-so-distant past are now playing out in our places, jeopardising our communities and our collective futures.
From the climate crisis to falling life expectancy, the scale of what faces us in 2023 is both a threat and an opportunity – the stage is set for something different (enter: community power).
Join us to explore the big debates, meet the people taking action and unpack the relationship between empowered communities and resilient places.
Find out whether community power can end health inequalities with Prof Bola Owolabi, how the environmental challenge is being tackled at grassroots with Involve’s Rich Wilson and CitizenLab’s Wietse Van Ransbeeck, and how democracy is changing with citizens assemblies expert Claudia Chwalisz.
4. Enjoy a chance to recharge
“Stronger Things reinvigorates you…it gives you belief…it sparks your imagination.”ST21 Participant
Turn on your out of office and make room for some blue-sky thinking.
From Gateshead to Tunisia, our agenda is full of inspiring insights from the community power movement in action. Everything from reimagining economic and social models with Sheffield Council’s Chief Executive Kate Josephs to reinventing urban space by putting communities in charge – and plenty in between.
Whether you’re interested in the policy, practice and big ideas behind community power, or you’re looking for opportunities to learn in bespoke workshops, Stronger Things is a chance to zoom out from your day-to-day, recharge and reboot the way you work.
But our expert speakers won’t be doing all the talking. Peer-learning is in our DNA so come prepared to share and listen to stories of change from your colleagues across the public sector.
5. Meet the people making a difference
“It was inspiring to hear people saying the things that myself and colleagues have been saying for a long time – sometimes you think it’s just you”ST22 Participant
Do you sometimes feel like you’re swimming against the tide in your organisation, fighting the status quo alone? Or have you been charged with implementing that big idea and wish you could talk to someone who has ‘been there and done that’?
Stronger Things is where people making a difference come together. In between sessions you can head to our Town Square for a chance to put faces to names and meet like-minded people and organisations fanning the flames of community power.
The Town Square is a space to browse for new ideas from our partners and re-connect with colleagues from other parts of the country.
And there’s no better backdrop than London’s magnificent Guildhall.
Want to connect with attendees in advance or find someone to come with? Sign up to our Stronger Things community on LinkedIn.
If you have already secured your space, grab your diary, take a look at our agenda and plan your day out of the office at the community power event of the year.
If you haven’t, there are limited spaces remaining so book your ticket now.
Can’t make it to London? Join us for Stronger Things 2023 Online.
Thanks to our partners for making this event possible: TPXimpact, The MJ, Power to Change, City of London, Social Finance, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, PPL, CitizenLab, Intelligent Health UK, LGC, Hello Lamp Post & Krazy Races.
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